It was 1965 when Gruppo Franza decided to venture into the shipping business, setting up Tourist Ferry Boat, a maritime transport company which, together with its Calabrian counterpart Caronte, represented the first real alternative to the Ferrovie dello Stato state railways in the Messina/Reggio Calabria maritime connection.
In 2003, the merger of these two giants of the strait resulted in the creation of Caronte & Tourist, a renowned private shipping company that transports 6 million passengers every year.
30 ships and more than 1,200 employees for over 2 million cars and 650,000 commercial vehicles transported every year.
Numbers which, divided between fast ferry crossings over the Straits of Messina, cabotage on the Salerno-Messina line and connections with the smaller islands, today make Caronte & Tourist one of the largest, most efficient and safest fleets in Europe.
The first LNG ferry in service in the Mediterranean
The flagship of its shipping division, Elio: the first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered motor vessel to operate in the Mediterranean, the symbol of the Group’s new course towards a sustainable mobility model.
Adoption of environmentally-friendly dual-fuel and diesel + LNG engines, total particulate abatement and silicone paint with a low percentage of environmentally-harmful biocides are some of its zero-impact features.
On 12 April 2016 in Palermo, from the Sala dei Baroni of Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri, Caronte & Tourist Isole Minori officialised the acquisition of Siremar, a long-standing Sicilian shipping company that operates in five distinct areas between Sicily and the smaller islands: the Aeolian Islands, with a round-trip service to Naples, the islands of Ustica and Pantelleria, and the Aegadian and Pelagie archipelagos.
15 vessels made up of traditional ships and motor ferries capable of transporting cars, lorries and passengers, which are widely appreciated by both Italian and international passengers for their reliability, quality of service and high safety standards.
To provide services in the field of shipping by pursuing the highest quality standards, enhancing skills in growth initiatives that are accompanied by the maintenance of alliances and strategic partnerships with the main players in the maritime market, in order to create value for its shareholders, customer satisfaction and professional growth for its employees.
It was 2001 when Caronte & Tourist launched Autostrade d’Amare, a project connecting goods and people between the ports of Messina and Salerno.
The star of this new route was the Cartour Delta, a state-of-the-art ship with a capacity of 600/1000 passengers and room in the hold for 800 cars or 150 commercial vehicles. The only one capable of making a round trip in 24 hours, with a journey time of around seven and a half hours.
On board: comfortable single, double, triple and quadruple cabins, lounges with numbered reclining seats, lift, bar, restaurant and shops.
A ship and a route that enabled Caronte & Tourist to become an ever greater point of reference in sea connections for central and southern Italy.