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The European Parliament’s Transport Committee is preparing its position on the TEN-T Commission proposal of 14 December 2021. More than 1800 amendments are on the table of the negotiators.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the more than 40 amendments tabled by six different political groups pleading for a new assessment of the importance of Europe’s ports in the TEN-T network in order to reflect the current and future role of ports in the supply of new energies.

Up to now, ports are considered part of the “TEN-T club” if they move enough tonnes and/or TEU. While throughput is still a valid criterion to measure the importance of ports, ESPO believes it is time to also take into account the crucial role ports play as hub in the green transition and Europe’s security of energy supply. The new energies are of importance for Europe and the related supply chains (such as hydrogen, wind, etc.) are more important in terms of volumes and space needed than fossil energies and fuels. They also come with specific transport needs, infrastructure and connectivities, storage and new supply chains.

Therefore, by counting only tonnes in ports, the TEN-T policy would risk to ignore the importance of ports in building and strengthening the supply chain for the new energy landscape.

ESPO welcomes in that respect the position taken by the Council on 5 December last year, as expressed in their General Approach.

Following the Council, on top of the current volume criterion (0.1% of the EU total volume of port cargo), a port can also be part of the comprehensive network if “its total annual cargo volume (bulk and non-bulk) exceeds 500.000 tonnes AND its contribution to the diversification of EU energy supplies and to the acceleration of the roll-out of renewable energies is one of the main activities of the port”.

The Council is thus clearly recognising this new role of ports and the importance of having these ports as nodes of the future TEN-T network.

ESPO hopes that this idea – as reflected already in the many amendments tabled – will also be part of the compromise agreement of the European Parliament.

“Realising and accelerating the energy transition is a top priority for Europe. It is important to understand that the energy transition has a maior impact on supply chains, connectivities and transport infrastructure. Europe’s ports are central and essential players in the new energy supply chains. And they are making this energy transition happen. It is important to translate this role and the new realities into the TEN-T policy and make sure that these ports that are instrumental in the supply of new energies are part of the network. By only counting tonnes we will not achieve this”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

Other points are of importance to Europe’s ports.

With regards to the rail requirements agreed in the Council, ESPO believes that further steps can be made to ensure a better last mile connectivity to ports while respecting the specificity of port-rail systems. The complexity of rail infrastructure and heterogeneity of its governance inside European ports makes it necessary to adopt the roll-out of rail requirements accordingly.

Finally, ESPO welcomes the reference made to pipelines both in the recitals of the agreed Council text as well as in multiple amendments tabled by the Parliament. For Europe’s ports, pipelines will increasingly play an essential role in the implementation of Europe’s decarbonisation agenda and will be a necessary mode of transport for new energies.

The vote is expected to take place in April.

European ports remain committed to work with both the Commission, the Parliament and the Council in further explaining the role ports play and can play in TEN-T.

Published in Ports & Shipping

In advance of the European Parliament’s hearings of the commissioners-designate, a coalition of more than 40 European associations and organisations renewed their call for a strong transport budget according to the European Sea Ports Organisation. 

While the previous European Parliament and the Council had agreed on a common understanding on the proposal for the Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027 (CEF II), the budget will be decided by the upcoming negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework. The European Parliament had demanded an increased budget of €33.51bn (€37.76bn in current prices) for the transport envelope of the Connecting Europe Facility II.

Transport allows people to move, businesses and trade to grow, it enables the completion of the internal market, it enhances tourism and it connects all of Europe. Completing the TEN-T core network by 2030 and at the same time moving towards a truly green, climate neutral, inte­grated and digital transport system requires a large amount of investments and funding.

For these reasons, the coalition calls on the newly elected Members of the European Parliament and the incoming Commissioners to support the demand for an increased transport budget, including the proposed transfer of funds under the Cohesion envelope. The Connecting Europe Facility has proven to be a financial instrument delivering highly added value and will be instrumental in the decarbonisation of the European transport sector.

A study, commissioned by the European Sea Ports Organisation investigating the future investment needs of European ports, estimates that European ports face investment needs of around 48 € billion for the period 2018-2027. It also shows that port authorities have only been able to obtain 4 percent of the grant envelope over the last 4 years.

“The transport sector is facing huge challenges in terms of decarbonization and digitalisation. These challenges need to be addressed if we want to continue to ensure the connectivity within Europe and thus the well-functioning of the internal market. European seaports need to invest continuously to remain state-of-the-art and cater for their multifunctional role as gateways to trade, multimodal hubs, nodes of energy and clusters of industry and blue economy. The connecting Europe Facility is instrumental in preparing Europe’s ports for the future”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

The MFF4Transport coalition is representing all transport modes and nodes, infrastructure managers, operators, contractors, local and regional authorities, logistics service providers, shippers, users and equipment suppliers in the maritime, inland waterways, railways, road, cycling, aviation and intermodal sectors, as well as supporting industries and companies.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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