Interreg AI Smart presents the feasibility study of Bari-Otranto regional maritime connection service

The AI SMART stakeholders meeting “Bari-Otranto regional maritime connection service (Metromare): Interviews with private and public stakeholders” organized by the Mobility Department of Puglia Region, took place online on Wednesday 10th November 2021.

The event opened with the presentation of the Technical-Functional and Economic Feasibility Study relating to the Bari-Otranto regional maritime connection service (Metromare). The objective of the METROMARE service is to intercept the demand for tourist-passenger transport by identifying the interchange nodes in correspondence with the tourist, historical and environmental settlements on the coast. This model tends to promote the use of the Apulian coast from Bari to Otranto both “from the sea” and “on land” by enhancing the environmental, cultural and food and wine heritage, integrating the existing public and private mobility services. This public interest tourism promotion service supports and connects to Otranto-Corfu, other services and airports.

The meeting was organized in two sessions aiming at opening a consultation process with both stakeholders categories, in the morning operators and stakeholders from the private sector (Shipowners, Agents, Tourism Operators, etc.), have been involved in order to discuss the opportunities and characteristics of the service, and, in the afternoon, the stakeholders of the public sector (Public Administration, Port System Authority, Port Authorities, Local Public Transport, etc.) addressed evaluation of the technical feasibility of the service with a view to integration with the territory.

Different possible scenarios of the METROMARE service have been analyzed during the first part of the session and, specifically, a hybrid scenario referred to a twofold connection purposes, of transport and tourist, selected as the most appropriate model for the project, while a second part included interviews with the stakeholders present, during which opinions and comments on the technical feasibility (routes, timetables, services) and economic (ticketing, cost of the service) and on the strengths and criticalities of the proposed service have been gathered. The key role, in these meetings, was played by the stakeholders and actors operating in the sector, who made it possible to respond to current challenges, through a participatory decision-making process aimed at co-creating value and achieving the objectives that are intended to be pursued.

The event represents an important starting point of the stakeholder consultation process, which will allow us to continue with the realization of further interviews with other Italian and foreign subjects interested in the service. The results of these meetings will be presented in an aggregate and anonymous way for the definition of the parameters of the call.

The AI SMART project aims to implement and develop a common port network in the Adriatic-Ionian area, based on the concept of “smart, green and integrated port” and aimed at connecting in a “sustainable corridor” the small ports of the cross-border countries involved, and promoting short sea maritime transport, as part of intermodal TEN T corridors and a vital lever for the development of sustainable modes of transport, in accordance with the objectives of the European Strategy 2020, for smart growth, enabling valorization of the natural and landscape resources of the hinterland.