Thanks to the AI SMART project, several redevelopment and adaptation interventions are planned for the port of Otranto, functional to improving cross-border maritime and cruise transport. These infrastructural interventions will allow the port and the city to develop and implement new and innovative services for the tourism and port sector. Otranto, a city located in the most extreme point of the Salento peninsula, is the easternmost municipality in Italy and since ancient times it has represented an important center of cultural and socio-economic exchanges between populations of different origins. The port of Otranto, only 80 km away from the Greek coasts, will enhance its infrastructures, improving the unloading/loading system and adapting to the requirements of national and community legislation. The structuring of the port, considered as a modern and organized complex, suitable for providing the most essential services in the cross-border commercial system, is configured as a driving development factor, placing itself as an important component of an economic model based on the concept of sustainable development of the territory and its environmental and cultural resources.
The aim is to create the conditions for the development of cross-border trade with the utmost respect for environmental values. Specifically, thanks to the AI SMART project, it will proceed with a new reconstruction of the moorings, both to ensure greater visibility and protection of the monuments overlooking the bay, and to ensure greater functionality and maneuverability for boats. There are also plans to renovate the maritime station, whose structure is currently no longer suitable, due to the location and the size of the spaces, for controlling maritime traffic. For this it was necessary to create new structures capable of hosting the offices of the maritime station. Among the planned interventions there is also the construction of the pedestrian area to reach the boarding and landing areas. This will be divided into two parts, one near the sea and the other that delimits the entry and exit routes. The rest of the pier will be paved and intended for dual carriageway traffic. In the area below the wave barrier there will be parking for the disabled and a green area where local trees and plants will be planted.
Finally, the port of Otranto will see the implementation of internal and external accessibility systems throughout the area, with the removal of architectural barriers, the establishment of check-in agencies for departures, information points and bicycle rental, the restoration of the square adjacent to the maritime station, to be used as an interchange between the port and the city, and the redevelopment of the Financial Police and Port Authority building at the entrance to the port of San Nicola.