We’ve been expanding the use of short sea routes and rail to transport packages and inventory across Europe. It all started in Italy, when we connected the Italian mainland with Sicily and Sardinia via sea routes powered by carrier partner Grimaldi. There are currently over 50 lanes connecting Italy to Spain, the UK, Malta and Greece, operating out of seven Italian seaports, and almost half of our warehouse transfers between Italy and Spain are now transported by sea.

Given our focus on expanding sea operations, we partnered with Bocconi University's GREEN team, who analysed 24 national and international sea routes used by local sea carriers to look at the impact of the Italian maritime industry on the country’s economy. The team at the university found that choosing sea transport over road allows for a more than 50% reduction in operating costs of about €2.02 billion. In addition to business benefits, there is also a positive environmental impact, and in particular a reduction of 0.7 million tons of carbon emissions per year, the equivalent of removing 375,000 cars from Italian roads.

Sea transportation for Italy's economy

Furthermore, the GREEN team ran a simulation that considered adopting more efficient vessels and highlighted the active role of online shopping in the expansion of maritime logistics in Italy. The simulation showed further potential for significant reductions in operational costs and carbon emissions. For further details, you can read the summary of the research here.

Amazon is committed to expanding its sea operations in Italy and across Europe as sea transportation provides a more sustainable, efficient, and sometimes a faster mode of freight transport in comparison to land-based alternatives.

"By taking advantage of Europe’s geography, we have developed an intermodal network with hundreds of routes that allow us to move thousands of truckloads improving our delivery speed and reliability,” said Lorenzo Barbo, Regional Director at Amazon Operations in Italy at the Let Expo 2024. “Thanks to its strategic position in the heart of the Mediterranean and peculiar geography, Italy is one of the key countries in Europe where we have expanded the use of sea transportation. Over the past three years, thanks to the partnership with the Italian Grimaldi Group, we have been able to reduce carbon emissions and speed up customer deliveries.”

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Lorenzo Barbo, Regional Director Amazon Operations in Italy talks about sea transportation at Let Expo 2024

“Signed at the end of 2021, the agreement between Amazon and Grimaldi Group contributes to the evolution of the sector and plays a forerunner role in the deployment of the strategies indicated in the ‘Piano Strategico del Mare’,” said Oliviero Baccelli, Bocconi University's GREEN research centre. "This agreement has enabled the increase in volumes in ship holds, with a consequent reduction of operating costs to the benefit of the entire supply chain, as well as the creation of environmental benefits for the good of the community. Moreover, it has allowed for the expansion of sea transport in terms of type of goods and geographic areas.”

We have a dedicated intermodal team that is looking into partnerships with European sea and rail carriers willing to innovate together and expand their logistics business.

If you want to find out more, please reach out to eu-intermodal-interest@amazon.com.