Ravano’s family – 150 years of history

The story of the Ravano family told by Giambattista Ravano, from the Brigantine Bismark to Data and System Planning.

by Giambattista Ravano, DSP Chairman

& his son,Lorenzo Ravano

The sea has always been present in my family and has been the element that allowed the opening to the new and entrepreneurship.

It was the way to connect with everyone and to amend geographical constraints, the result of mountains that crush you on the coast and, to see more, to force you to look where the horizon is low.

The recent race can be described in the last 150 years and has seen a flow of facts and history that are closely linked.

At the center the person then there is communication, cooperation, collaboration. And my Dad imagined and lived the habit of the unexpected, the courage to meet the challenges, the simplicity of the ways and in the approach to others, in team building, the ease in imagining new horizons and new goals, partly a result of the experience is passed down through the generations and inserted in the inherited genes. Today DSP is an independent company left to the Ravano family and wants to remember these 150 years of history and experience reflecting it in its own values ​​that remain intact and valid also and above all in this new economic, cultural and social context.

Around 1863-’65, Angelo Ravano senior, my great-grandfather (1838-1925) and his brother from Genova Nervi, ordered the construction of a brigantine, named Bismark, to Bernardo Borzone’s Lavagna (a town in Liguria, Italy) shipyards. The first trip was made in 1866 by Captain A. Capurro, then the command was taken by the Ravano. The relationship with the Borzone family was soon confined by the marriage between Rosetta Borzone (the carpenter’s daughter) and Angelo Ravano. Having settled in Lavagna, the couple has a daughter, Fanny, and two children, Bernardo and Enrico (1882-1957). The beginning of the shipping activity is thus placed in the new context of the Unity of Italy and from the first journeys in the Mediterranean navigation extended to the Atlantic, especially to South America. World trade was also at a time of important transformations both for general reasons (the apogee years of European imperialism) and for specific reasons, such as the opening of the Suez Canal on 17 November 1869.

At the turn of the new century Enrico Ravano began his seafaring career (deckhand, boatswain, machinist, officer, commander) and spent a period in Buenos Aires. Returning to Lavagna, he married Chiara Tiscornia. Relations with the Tiscornias, captains and historic shipowners of Lavagna and officers of the Royal Army, who boast navigable experiences as early as the end of the eighteenth century, have been present for some time but are thus becoming stronger and the Ravano’s personal history is still intertwined more so with the maritime history of the Gulf of Tigullio than with the Risorgimento story. Chiara Tiscornia’s grandfather participated as a volunteer in the Third War of Independence wearing a red Garibaldian shirt, of which we still have a piece.

Angelo Ravano, my father (1919-1994), was born in Lavagna from Enrico Ravano, his father, and Chiara Tiscornia, his mother. After the First World War, the operations of Enrico Ravano flourished. At the same time, history sees the birth and affirmation of fascism, the outbreak of the Second World War and the Resistance. From the point of view of navigation, the Ravano operate in the transition from sailing to steam. The largest steamship purchased is the Entella, built in 1899 and bought by A. Sanguinetti of Portofino, which had been operating it since 1925. But the family still has sailing ships like Angiulin. Built in 1904 and purchased in 1930 by Dani & Co, the ship also had a celebratory moment when it was lent in 1942 to the Genoese comedian Gilberto Govi ​​to shoot the movie Colpi di Timone, but was later sunk during the war. Set sail from Cagliari with a cargo of 3500 tons of coal, even the Entella was sunk on 10 April 1943 from the English submarine Safari.

The intensification of the war thus marked a severe blow to the activities of the family, also due to the specificities of the Ligurian context, strongly marked by the conflict, by the Nazi occupation and by the anti-fascist resistance. But the family is gritting its teeth and the story continues. After graduating in Economics and Commerce at the University of Genoa, in 1948 Angelo Ravano creates the Nav Stellamaris SpA with the Piaggio brothers, which operates the Capo Manara, built in 1921, and the liberty ship San Marco Quarto (S. Marco IV ). The company has been operating since 1952 also Giacomo Piaggio, built in 1920, renamed Enrichetto in 1954, active until 1958. Vallecrosia, Varenna and Valcerusa also operate with Enrichetto, built during the First World War.

Around 1955-1956, Malcolm Purcell McLean invents the container.

Similar loading innovations had been tested in the military by the Americans during the Korean War, but it was with McLean that the first commercial container transport took place: on 26 April 1956, Ideal-X transported 58 containers from Port Newark to Port of Houston.

Angelo Ravano already sensed the importance of that transformation in the early 1960s. Here are some chronological stages of his entrepreneurial activity in the world of containerized shipping:

1967: Angelo Ravano establishes a logistics center in Cadenazzo in Switzerland, with the company STISA, to organize the transport of goods arriving from the port of Genoa. The same year the TEU standard is set by the ISO.

1969: Contship Container Line established. The opportunity arose from a friend of the FIAT engineer who contacted Ravano to organize the transport of cars from the Lingotto to Casablanca via Fos-sur-Mer with the CKD system (completely knocked down). In October 1969 the first trip was made with the ship Sea Maid, which carries 82 TEUs. The absence of a port still developed and equipped for containerized transport leads Ravano to also build its own terminal.

1971: Start of operations at the La Spezia Terminal.

10 December 1971: end of the Bretton Woods agreements.

1973: Contship makes an alliance with Ellerman City Line, already a container service leader with the Ellerman Prince Container Service between the UK and the Mediterranean (especially La Spezia).

October 1973: oil crisis begins.

April 1975: Contship opens line with Tartous, Syria (central junction given the closure of the Suez Canal). 1976: reopening of the Suez Canal. Contship starts operations on Dammam, Dubai and Kuwait. The first Contship named ship is Seasky (108 TEU) from 1972. Built in 1969 in Bardenfleth under the name of Gwendolen Isle, owned by Midsea Containership Inc. It is renamed Contship One, but returns to the name Seasky in 1980. From here to the end of the 1980s new routes were opened (including the Indian Subcontinent and Australia), larger ships, Contship Two, Three, Four, then Contship Champion, Contship Europe to arrive Contship Brave and Contship America.

1978-1982: Contship leaves Lugano for England due to the need for expansion, first with some offices in Felixstowe and then completely in 1982 with its main office in Ipswich.

1986: the DSP is founded in Lugano, to deal with innovation and technological support to the Ravano companies.

1989: Costa Containerlines is purchased, Contship starts operating a service called Contship Gulf that serves the Mediterranean-US East / Gulf Coast.

November 9, 1989: collapse of the Berlin wall, end of the cold war.

1990: merger between Sogermar and Intermodale Italia. Creation of the largest Italian private intermodal network. 50% equity interest in Salerno Container Terminal.

1990-’91: Gulf War.

1991: the service to India is implemented with CMB Transport (Belgium).

1991-’95: wars in the Balkans.

1993: increase in Eagle service capacity with larger tonnage vessels.

1993-1994: works for the creation of a terminal in Gioia Tauro. Signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on 22 December 1993, conclusion of the Program Agreement on 29 July 1994.

March 1994: death of Angelo Ravano.

Throughout this history, entrepreneurial activity is linked to the desire to create and develop new things; it is not immediately related to economic advantage or power. When many people value themselves and join forces with this will they often reach two goals: they create work and consequent well-being, they have fun.

In people and in their works, ways of doing, attitudes and skills are the result of both biological and historical heritage, as well as the inevitable personal experiences.

At the center the person then there is communication, cooperation, collaboration. And my Dad imagined and lived the habit of the unexpected, the courage to meet the challenges, the simplicity of the ways and in the approach to others, in team building, the ease in imagining new horizons and new goals, partly a result of the experience is passed down through the generations and inserted in the inherited genes.

Today DSP is an independent company left to the Ravano family and wants to remember these 150 years of history and experience reflecting it in its own values ​​that remain intact and valid also and above all in this new economic, cultural and social context.