Great enthusiasm and full approval expressed by the representatives of the European Commission Maria Sioliou e Simona Pohlova, who visited Puglia Region on 7 March 2023, in order to analyze the implementation of the activities carried out so far within the strategic project AI SMART “Adriatic Ionian Small Port Network”.
The main objective of the AI SMART project is to implement a common port network in the Adriatic-Ionian area, based on the concept of “smart, green and integrated port” and aimed at connecting the small ports of the cross-border countries involved in a single “sustainable corridor” and to promote short sea shipping, as part of intermodal routes, enabling the development of sustainable transport modes in accordance with the objectives of the European Strategy 2030.
Among the several planned activities there is the realization of infrastructural interventions, aimed to the development of some port areas both in Puglia and in Greece and to the improvement of cross-border maritime transport. These interventions will allow the ports and cities involved to develop and implement increasingly innovative services for the tourism and port sector.
One of the interventions involved in the on-site visit concerned the ongoing works of the port of the Municipality of Mola di Bari, in Puglia. The infrastructural works regarded the first section of the western pier for a length of about 200 meters and the renovation of the existing building of the former Port Authority, located in the entrance area of the pier, inside which the construction of a conference room, offices, info points and tourist services is planned.
The project idea for the restoration of the western pier, already started by the Municipality of Mola di Bari within “URBAN” Programme, is developed around the concept of a public space, that allows citizens and tourists to enjoy the area as an integral part of the city.
Another significant intervention, submitted to the attention of the representatives of the European Commission, is that of the port of the Municipality of Otranto. Specifically, thanks to the AI SMART project, internal and external accessibility systems will be implemented throughout the port area, with the consequent removal of architectural barriers and the spaces of the maritime station and the information and bicycle rental points will be redeveloped. It will also proceed with the restoration of the Financial Police and Port Authority buildings at the entrance to the San Nicola pier and the square in front of the maritime station, to be used as an exchange point between the port and the city, a temporary parking and parking system.
The on-site visit saw, also the participation of the Mobility Department of the Puglia Region, Lead Beneficiary of the project, together with the Joint Secretariat of Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Programme and the Mayor of Municipality of Mola di Bari.