Concerning the Organisation's view on how the European policy could strengthen the role of ports as multimodal nodes in the transport chain:

  • European ports should be closely involved in the development of the relevant policies;
  • The railway network in the port often serves other needs than the national rail network and can as a consequence not always be addressed in the same way;
  • A better cooperation between the port and its rail network and the national rail network is needed.

The digitalisation and automation in the European ports:

  • Will enhance efficiency, safety, security and environmental performance;
  • Should recognise that port authorities can play a pivotal role in enhancing the digitalisation of the transport and supply chain;
  • Should keep the smaller ports on board of this digital transition;
  • Should develop a policy that protects against abuse and the risks of cyber-attacks, without curtailing the rapid pace of digital innovation, must be seen as one of the major political objectives.
  • Can only deliver if all stakeholders, public and private, cooperate and dare to share information
  • The Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window Environment must be welcomed and implemented in close cooperation with the ports.

According to ESPO, the ports are:

  1. Gateways to the world: About 75% of Europe’s trade with the rest of the world and more than one third of intra-European trade is shipped through its seaports;
  2. Hotspots for Europe’s industrial activity: Many European seaports are home to vast industrial complexes, located in port areas with the aim to be at the crossroad of supply chains, and save transport costs and time;
  3. Safe and secure shelters: While ports continue to provide shelter, they are playing a more important role in maritime safety and in the prevention of pollution through sophisticated maritime traffic monitoring systems, technical-nautical assistance to ships and facilities to monitor and collect waste to avoid discharges at sea;
  4. Hubs of innovation and digitalisation: Ports are at the very centre of the logistic chain, linking maritime transport with the hinterland modes. Ports can therefore play a pivotal role in facilitating the cooperation and coordination between all stakeholders involved in the supply chain. The smart port can play a role in enhancing efficiency, safety, security and environmental performance of the supply chain;
  5. Key players in the transport of passengers: The number of passengers passing through EU ports is estimated at close to 400 million in 2016, most of them are ferry passengers while 3.2% are cruise passengers;
  6. Essential nodes in the multimodal transport chain: Ports contribute to the sustainable development of their territories;
  7. Essential part of an emergency supply chain and facilitator of military mobility: Because of the geopolitical situation and given their location, some European ports are or can become at some point an essential part of an emergency supply chain, in view of ensuring the connectivity of the port region with the main markets;
  8. Nodes of energy: Apart from providing services to the offshore oil and gas industry, ports are also closely linked with the building and maintenance of on- and offshore renewable energy sites and increasingly play a role in the provision of alternative energy sources such as LNG, biomass and wind. Ports can therefore be a driver for the decarbonisation of the economy.
  9. Clusters of blue growth: European ports play an essential role for the offshore, fishing and leisure industry in Europe. With more than 80 000 fishing vessels in operation around Europe, the fishing industry is relying on Europe’s ports.

In addition, ESPO highlights that the European Policy should recognise the development of ports towards becoming financially autonomous, and port dues should not be used by governments as an instrument to reward or punish port users or stakeholders.

In the meantime, ESPO presents the top 10 environmental priorities for the European ports for year 2018

Credit: ESPO environmental report 2018

  1. Air quality;
  2. Energy Consumption;
  3. Noise;
  4. Relationship with local community;
  5. Ship waste;
  6. Port development (land related);
  7. Climate change;
  8. Water quality;
  9. Dredging operations;
  10. Garbarge/port waste.

Thus, the Organisation calls the new European Commission, the new Parliament and the Member States to keep on showing the same level of ambition in calling for an increased budget in view of completing Europe’s Transport Infrastructure Network integrating fully the decarbonisation and digitalization goals.

The share of the CEF budget to be allocated to ports should better reflect the role European ports are playing today as main nodes of transport, energy, industry, digitalisation and blue economy... ESPO asks European policymakers to strongly consider European ports as strategic assets.

Concluding, for more information, you may click on the PDF herebelow