THE MEDIA VOICE OF THE GLOBAL MARINA INDUSTRY

Sustainability goals across the network

Following an ambitious path to protect the environment, and utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to foster its sustainability goals, Italy-based Marinedi Group is racking up an impressive influence in the European marina sector. Donatella Zucca reports

Marina di Vieste, at the extreme edge of the Gargano promontory, is perfectly positioned for access to the Croatian, Greek and Albanian coasts.

Marina di Vieste, at the extreme edge of the Gargano promontory, is perfectly positioned for access to the Croatian, Greek and Albanian coasts.

Marinedi is the first private marina network in the Mediterranean and a leader in the development and management of tourist ports. With 6,000 berths, 15 operational entities and a fivefold increase in its EBITDA valuation in just five years, its rising success is obvious.
Since its foundation at the end of 2012, Marinedi has always been eco-friendly, primarily choosing to rejuvenate abandoned sites rather than create new ones. Today, the group aspires to be an environmental ambassador, especially for countries where sensitivity to environmental issues is poor or non-existent. Marinedi’s journey has been supported by its membership of Assonat (National Association of Tourist Landings & Ports) which actively promotes nautical tourism, its activity in the maritime economy with FEE Italia via its Blue Flag awards, and its inclusion in the European group Cooperation Odyssey.
The group has been at the forefront in the fight to defend the tourist port industry, and emphasise its crucial importance to Italy as a country, by engaging in continuous dialogue with the Italian Government and various institutions. In February of this year, it took part in the ‘General States of Italian Tourist Ports’ meeting organised by Assonat-Confcommercio and Assonautica Italiana-Unioncamere on the 2025-2027 strategic plan for Italian tourist ports. On this occasion, Nello Musumeci, the Minister of Civil Protection & Sea Policies, invited Renato Marconi, founder and CEO of Marinedi, to assist the Government in analysing the principal needs of those who manage tourist ports and defining appropriate objectives.
Thanks to tourism and boating – ‘Made in Italy’ excellences – nautical tourism is a crucial part of the country’s nautical industry economy, which has a €7 billion annual turnover. Growth is continuous, especially with the expansion of the Blue Economy, which includes the use of new technologies and AI. The establishment of the Blue Marina Awards for green marinas, tourist ports and landing places, promoted by Assonautica Italiana-Unioncamere and Assonat-Confcommercio, bears witness to this in addition to being a model of collaboration in the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and in the blue economy objectives of the European Commission.
[p2]Aware of the importance of harmonising its expansion with the environment, Marinedi aims to transform each construction and management project into a hotbed of ideas and technologies for the benefit of land and sea. “In Marina dei Presidi in Porto Ercole and in marinas in Cagliari, Procida and Vieste, we have positioned Seabin floating baskets to capture microplastics and other residues,” explains Renato Marconi. “In the marina in Villasimius, we’ve tested a drone that moves on the surface of the water to capture waste and floating substances, as well as an underwater drone that identifies and captures waste on the seabed, and a 100kg [220lb] trans-collector that can be positioned on fixed and mobile docks.”
Further to this, Marinedi has entered into a partnership with Aqua superPower for installation of marine rapid charge electric charge points, the first of which is now at Brindisi Marina offering 22kW AC and 150kW DC for leisure and commercial vessels.
“Throughout the network we urge the use of paints and antifouling systems that have the lowest possible impact on the ecosystem, products that reduce the presence of biocides and the use of antifouling films that are free of pollutants,” Marconi adds.
[p3]In 2022 Marinedi joined the Pick a Pier digital platform, which had already partnered with TransEurope Marinas, the largest European marina network with over 75 marinas and around 45,000 berths. Together, Pick a Pier and TransEurope committed to sustainable growth of the sector and its standards of innovation and services.
Pick a Pier, formed in 2017 by Idan Cohen and his brother Asaf as a start-up, focuses on utilising machine learning and AI to design a technological future for the marina industry that is capable of reinventing the nautical experience.
The first objective has been to synergistically combine the needs of efficiency, profitability and sustainability by connecting marinas, boaters, government agencies and organisations with support from global partners. By collecting and analysing real-time data using powerful and intuitive software, an AI-enabled system is being created by and for the nautical industry. A team of engineers, product designers, data scientists, revenue management specialists, operational experts, and more, work within the Pick a Pier team.
[p4]Partnerships and memberships are crucial to Marinedi’s quest to progress in line with its precise policies. Being part of Assonat is particularly important. “It represents the opportunity to contribute to re-launching tourism and boating, the principal excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ and, more generally, to the sea economy. Furthermore, we can explain the major needs of those who manage tourist ports to the Government and help define the objectives we need to work towards. With Assonat, we are taking action to shed light on the rules of state concessions and the tax rules that apply to the sector,” says Marconi.
Education plays a key role right down to school level. “In various ports within the network, for example, Marina di Porto San Giorgio, we have organised educational workshops at local schools, aimed at raising awareness of the port area, delving into issues related to maritime civilisation and with the intervention of people who bring their own testimonies. These are free activities, driven by a desire to strengthen the idea of a ‘heritage community’. Where possible, we promote schoolwork initiatives aimed at making ports nurseries for modern yachting professionals. Also in Policoro, Procida and Balestrate activities are promoted by the local nautical institutes.”
[p5]Marconi would be the first to agree that fuel and energy systems are amongst the most talked about topics industry-wide and are of particular importance to Marinedi as part of its role as an environmental ambassador. “In September 2023, we started a five-year autonomous energy supply programme, which plans to make the network tourist ports more sustainable by exploiting renewable, clean and self-produced energy sources. The aim is to reduce combustion pollutants and climate-changing emissions. The programme includes interventions on the energy efficiency of port buildings and public lighting systems, the use of electric means of transport, the reduction of emissions from boats at the dock and the creation of infrastructure for the use of electricity.”
“The autonomous energy supply programme began by diagnosing the energy use at each marina in the network. The opportunity to create an energy community that extends to neighbouring manufacturing and commercial structures, and port infrastructure, will then be studied. We carry out analytics at each port to identify the actions needed in order to achieve energy autonomy across our entire network within the five-year timeframe.”
Enhanced efficiency and environmental benefits have, meanwhile, accrued from Marinedi’s association with Pick a Pier. “Joining the Pick a Pier platform to connect boaters and marinas has guaranteed an easy and fast service. As an example, the platform’s inclusive payment simplifies the lives of both boaters and staff,” Marconi notes. “From an environmental point of view, the results have been achieved via Pick a Pier’s Popeye Sailing Club [created in collaboration with Blue Flag]. This allows boaters (by signing up for free) to earn points and discounts for each vacancy they report to the ports, making navigation more accessible, convenient and sustainable.”
Marinedi is strengthening its collaboration with Pick a Pier in 2024 and implementing some of its latest features that help eliminate repetitive tasks and financial errors while enhancing customer satisfaction.

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