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The extension of the Civitavecchia Arbatax Cagliari line

Ferry trips will also be bookable for the 2023 high season, which from Civitavecchia often make an intermediate stop in Arbatax before arriving in Cagliari, to then sail on the reverse route.

Update: <<The Grimaldi shipping company will operate the Civitavecchia – Arbatax – Cagliari section and vice versa from 23 September 2023 and until 22 September 2026 with public service obligations for the maritime territorial continuity of Sardinia>>.

Since the public maritime transport service for passengers and vehicles on the Civitavecchia – Arbatax – Cagliari line expires on 22 March 2023, ferry tickets that operate the related routes and that refer to journeys after that date cannot be be purchased right now. In the short term, however, the departures on the routes, managed by Grimaldi Lines, the shipping company awarded the last state tender, should be scheduled again and bookable thanks to a six-monthly extension of the agreement, not yet formalized but paid attention to by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation, as stated by the current Undersecretary of the dicastery.

The Civitavecchia – Arbatax – Cagliari line service

One of the scheduled services that guarantee the territorial continuity of Sardinia is the one that connects both the capital of the island and the maritime fraction of Tortolì with Lazio by sea. The shipping company that currently operates on the line managing the service is Grimaldi Lines. The journeys depart from Civitavecchia to arrive in Cagliari and vice versa, with an intermediate stopover in Arbatax on both the outward and return journeys for two of the three weekly departures that are made.

The departures of the ferries on the Civitavecchia – Cagliari and on the Cagliari – Civitavecchia have a three-weekly frequency, in both cases in the evening with navigation at night and, for one trip a week, the duration of the navigation is reduced from 15 to 13 hours as there is no intermediate stopover.

The departures of the ferries on the Civitavecchia – Arbatax and on the Arbatax – Civitavecchia have a biweekly frequency and last 9 hours; in the case of the first route, the departure is in the evening, while on the reverse route it is at night.

Reservations for rides, at the moment, can only be made until 21 March 2023 due to the expiry of the concession of the award of the service under the annual public agreement.

The six-monthly extension of the agreement

In March 2022, Grimaldi had again won the ministerial call for tenders for the annual transport (extendable for a further six months) of passengers, vehicles and goods on the maritime line. And in fact, the rides can only be booked until March 21, 2023, the day of the last scheduled departure, at least for now. The pause, however, due to the expiry of the agreement and the delay in identifying the new concessionaire, should only be temporary.

In fact, the Undersecretary of Ministry declared the following, just over a month before the deadline: “In relation to the Civitavecchia – Arbatax – Cagliari maritime connection, and in the light of the great public importance it has to ensure territorial continuity with the Sardinia, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is working to avoid the interruption of services on this line. As far as is known, the tender documents are being prepared in order to publish the new tender for the assignment of the service as soon as possible. Pending the new assignment, and therefore the identification of the new concessionaire, it will be viable to take advantage of the possibility of extending the contract for a maximum of six months, already envisaged by the legislation. Ministry, and I first, will remain vigilant and sensitive to the operation of the connection, in order to guarantee territorial maritime continuity to and from Sardinia, thus avoiding inconvenience to the population concerned”.

The continuation of the scheduled service therefore seems to be guaranteed, both in the short term thanks to the six-monthly extension of the agreement currently in place, and in the long term through the announcement of a new tender. As soon as the extension of the contract in the state agreement is made official, tickets for journeys on the route will be immediately purchasable also for the six months following the expiry, and therefore until September 2023. As regards the departures scheduled until 21 March 2023, it is already possible to make reservations.

The assignment lasted 12 months (for a total of 208 journeys with a stopover and 104 journeys without a stopover) to allow the Ministry to carry out in-depth studies on traffic flows in a post-pandemic scenario, also in light of the consolidation of traffic on the other lines of territorial continuity with Sardinia.

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