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The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) met with the EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean today, to discuss challenges facing ports in Europe and the role of a green transition.

The delegation consisted of ESPO’s Chair Zeno D’Agostino, Vice Chairs Daan Schalck and Ansis Zeltiņš, and ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

During the meeting, Europe’s ports exchanged views with the Commissioner on the current challenges facing ports. In addition the role that ports in Europe can play as partners in the green transition.

Representatives of ESPO explained how ports are taking up a wider range of roles and responsibilities on top of their traditional role as transport hub. Ports are not only consumers of energy, but also producers and suppliers of energy - in particular green energy. They do more than before. They combine bigger commercial activities with increasing public responsibilities. The role of the port is also often not limited to the port’s boundaries, but goes beyond. This has a major impact on investments, financing and business models. Tonnage is no longer the main and only port performance indicator.

ESPO also shared with the Commissioner the challenge to prepare and finance long term investments in a context of changing geopolitical realities and uncertainties. They further discussed the role of ports as critical infrastructure and hence the need for full political support at the different levels, both financially and non-financially.

“We had a constructive conversation and interesting exchange of views with the Commissioner. She clearly recognises the resilience ports has shown during the pandemic and also appraised the multidimensional role of ports. We hope to continue the dialogue with the Commissioner and her cabinet and be able to further explain which policy is needed for ports to be able to contribute to building a sustainable, resilient and competitive future for Europe”, said ESPO Chair Zeno D’Agostino at the outcome of the meeting.

Published in Ports & Shipping