Manuel Grimaldi confided to some close friends last December that not only had he decided to set up a new line from Italy to Spain but also to purchase Superfast 1 now called Eurostar Roma for Euro 49.3 million. The specification of the vessel will mean a greater presence in Mediterranean RoRo and in fact there are now three of this type of vessel under the name of Grimaldi Ferry Prestige.
The new purchase Eurostar Roma was presented by the Naples shipping group in Rome on January 23, 2004. The vessel is 24,000 tons, 174 m long, with a beam of 24 m and a cruising speed of 27 knots. Eurostar Rome can carry 1,400 passengers with 100 cars as well as 110 trailers. The vessel is fitted with swimming pool
, disco, cinema, shopping mall, restaurants and bar. The ship will carry out a thrice weekly service between Civitavecchia and Barcelona, sailing from Civitavecchia on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and calling once a week on Sunday evening at Golfo Aranci in Sardinia. Sailing time for Barcelona is 18 hours and nine hours for Golfo Aranci.
Gianni Moscherini president of Civitavecchia-Fiumicino-Gaeta Port Authority and Josep Oriol Barcelona port director attended the presentation ceremony for the line which starts up on March 14. The name of the new Grimaldi-Naples vessel was chosen because of Civitavecchia’s identification as the port of Rome. Gianni Moscherini declared “ a port which is continuously growing in numbers of passengers and quantity of freight and will soon have available an enormous container terminal and a large interport adjoining the port. In addition an area of waterfront has been restored and will shortly open. For us Grimaldi is an important ship owner and his achievements bring honour to Naples and the South of Italy “.
In his speech Manuel Grimaldi disclosed the ticket prices; 70 euros for a passenger round trip to Barcelona and 35 euros to Golfo Aranci. He said “we plan to carry 35.000 cars on this Sea Ways line and we want to be a valid alternative to rail and road “ In reply to the question if the line was based on European aid and subsidies he replied “ our initiatives are based on sound business principles. We carefully evaluate costs and sales and the latter must always exceed the former. If there is aid so much the better and if the line goes well we will add an additional vessel “.
Words of praise came from Josep Oriol the Barcelona port director “ the courage and ability of Grimaldi-Naples Group is common knowledge, here we see the launch of a new kind of sea transport “.
Today Grimaldi-Naples Group headed by Guido Grimaldi is a leader in the transport of cars and wheeled vehicles and owns one of the largest multi purpose and car carrier ro-ro fleets in the world with 50 vessels of which 31 new builds including 5 under construction. The Naples group operates shipping lines to over 100 ports in 40 countries in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Scandinavia, British Isles, West Africa and North and South America.
1.3 billion euros have been spent since 1997 on modernising the fleet and the number of employees has risen in that time from 1.000 to 3.100.