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The European Sea Ports Organisation congratulates 11 ports with their Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certificates during the annual ESPO Conference in Paris. 

The Port of Algeciras (Spain), the Port of Barcelona (Spain), the Port of Klaipeda (Lithuania), the Ports of Niedersachsen (Germany), the Ports of Tenerife (Spain), the Port of Sevilla (Spain), the Port of Igoumenitsa (Greece), the Port of Waterford (Ireland), the Port of Dover (United Kingdom), the Port of Pori (Finland), and the Port of Vigo (Spain) for being certified through the EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS).

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General, Zeno D'Agostino, ESPO Chair, and Anaëlle Boudry, EcoPorts Coordinator handed over the PERS certificates to the ports’ representatives during the conference.

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General, commented: “Once again, we see that assessing your environmental performance is not something for only one kind of ports, but that small, big, northern, southern, eastern, western ports in Europe increasingly go for environmental certification”.

Anaëlle Boudry, ESPO Senior Policy Advisor and EcoPorts Coordinator, said: “I would like to congratulate all the PERS-certified ports on their achievement. Re-certification requires the port to show improved environmental management. Some are receiving the certificate for the sixth time already. It should be noted that the ports of Waterford, Klaipeda and Tenerife are getting PERS-certified for the first time. Many of the PERS-certified ports today are long-time members of the EcoPorts network and have made sustainability a core part of their mission. We look forward to working with all these ports in their continued efforts to engage in excellent environmental management”.

PERS (Port Environmental Review System) is the only port-specific environmental standard. The last five years have seen important increases in its recognition and membership, with 90 ports from 27 countries currently counting themselves as part of the EcoPorts Network, and 33 ports holding PERS certification. Compliance with the EcoPorts’ PERS standard is independently assessed by LRQA Nederland B.V. and the certificate has a validity of two years. EcoPorts’ PERS is revised after the 2-year period to make sure that the port continues to meet the requirements.

For more information on EcoPorts’ PERS,  visit the EcoPorts website.

Published in Ports & Shipping

European transport organisations (totalling 44), representing the key spectrum of Europe’s transport network, operators and stakeholders, are again joining forces in a campaign to call the Council and the European Parliament for a robust transport funding instrument in the upcoming review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

The transport sector is of strategic importance in responding to Europe’s geostrategic, environmental and capacity challenges. Recent and ongoing crises have proven once again that only with a strong, adaptable and innovative transport sector at its core, Europe will be able to respond effectively to massive disruptions, safeguard its supply chain sovereignty and ensure economic and societal growth and welfare. If Europe is to strengthen its resilience, be a leader in the shift to net-zero and finally, complete the Trans-European Transport Network, it must translate its words into deeds and reflect these ambitions in the new EU budget for transport.

The massive oversubscriptions of the current CEF transport budget underline once again that the ambitions and challenges of the transport sector are high, yet are not met with the necessary EU support. The take-away for European leaders and policymakers should be clear: this is the moment for Europe to reverse the trend of continued underfunding of the transport sector and set the bar high. An even stronger CEF for transport or likewise funding instrument is the best guarantee to deliver high EU added value, foster a level playing field across Europe and enable no regret investments.

“Based on the first results of ESPO’s new investment study, Europe’s ports have already investment needs for a total of more than 80 billion EUR for the next ten years! The investment pipeline of ports reflects the multidimensional role ports have nowadays. Ports are not any more these mere nodes in the maritime supply chain. Without vital ports it is impossible to secure energy, realise the green transition, safeguard cohesion, have sustainable and competitive agriculture, remain attractive for industry - in particular for the new net-zero industries - and have strong military capabilities. Ports are fully committed, but need European support to turn all goals and ambitions into a success.” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost

The leaflet of the More EU money for Transport coalition is attached and available here .

The campaign leaflet will be officially handed over to Magda Kopczyńska, Director General of DG MOVE during the Connecting Europe Days, on 4th April at 5.30pm. (Gold Hall – Square conference center)

ESPO’s new Port Investments Study, prepared by Dr. Peter de Langen, will be officially presented during the ESPO Conference in Paris on 26 April. A preview of the main results can be viewed here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has congratulated the Port of Dover (UK) for being certified through the EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS).

The ferry port of Dover is a long-standing EcoPorts member, being in the Network since 2003 and is now certified for the third time under the PERS.

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General, commented: “The investments and work of the Port of Dover in the field of clean energies both for shipping and port operations, biodiversity, and monitoring pollution are truly impressive. We are happy to see the Port of Dover being PERS certified for the third time. It is certainly a well-deserved certificate for the team in the Port of Dover who is full of green engagement”

“I am very happy with the commitment and dedication shown by the Port of Dover when it comes to environmental management and involvement in the EcoPorts community. Its continuous engagement with environmental issues is coupled by a willingness to identify and address new issues when they arise. The PERS certification is evidence of their ambition to tackle many challenges arising in and around the port. I congratulate the port once more and I look forward to having them as key members of our EcoPorts Network for many more years to come” commented Anaëlle Boudry, ESPO Senior Policy Advisor and EcoPorts Coordinator.

PERS (Port Environmental Review System) is the only port-specific environmental standard. The last five years have seen important increases in its recognition and membership, with 91 ports from 27 countries currently counting themselves as part of the EcoPorts Network, and 35 ports holding PERS certification.

Compliance with the EcoPorts’ PERS standard is independently assessed by LRQA Nederland B.V. and the certificate has a validity of two years. EcoPorts’ PERS is revised after the 2-year period to make sure that the port continues to meet the requirements.

For more information on EcoPorts’ PERS, visit the EcoPorts website. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

In 2023, taking all ESPO board meetings and technical committees together, women represented 41% of the port professionals participating in the meetings. This is a slightly higher level compared to the share of women participating in 2022, which was 38%.

Ever since ESPO started monitoring the gender balance of its internal meetings in 2018, the share of female participants has been increasing, including during the last year.

The Executive Committee, which is the policy-making body of the organisation, saw an attendance of 34% women on average in 2023. This is the same figure as in 2022. The General Assembly saw a slight increase in female participation in 2023, with 37% female participants.

A closer look into the results of the different technical committees reveals that several ESPO committees have seen an increase in the share of women attending the meetings in 2023 compared to the previous year.

The level of female participation is the highest in the Sustainable Development Committee, where 6 on 10 participants were female in 2023 (61%). Last year, more than half of the participants of ESPO’s Cruise and Ferry Port Network (54%) were women. The Economic Analysis and Statistics Committee had 40% female participation in 2023 which is an increase compared to 2022 (30%). Last year, more than one third of participants (38%) in the Trade Facilitation, Customs and Security, and Marine Affairs Committees were women. With this score the committee is doubling its female participation - in 2022 only 19% were women - and bringing it to the level of the other committees.

The Blue Growth and Energy Committee lost in 2023 its gender balance. This committee performed better in 2022 with 51% of meeting participants being women. However, with a female participation of 41% it is still scoring quite well. Also, the Governance and Management Committee scored slightly lower in 2023 with 33% female representation. The Intermodal, Logistics & Industry Committee saw a decrease in women participation from 37% in 2022 to 32% in 2023.

Looking at the ESPO secretariat, since 2023, 7 on the 9 people working at the European Port House are women. The secretariat is also led by a woman, Isabelle Ryckbost, since 2013. Out of the nine technical ESPO committees and networks, three are currently chaired by women.

“Ports in Europe are currently very active as partners in Europe’s energy and green transition. It is interesting to see that the committees which are dealing with these important issues score very well as regards female participation. It is also important to note that the share of women participating in the General Assembly and ESPO Board meetings is remaining stable, if not increasing slightly.” says ESPO’s Chair Zeno D’Agostino.

Since 2018, ESPO has been monitoring the gender balance through the effective attendance of port professionals to the different meetings of the organisation. The results of this monitoring are published each year on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. ESPO is also one of the founding members of the European Commission’s initiative Women in Transport – EU Platform for change”, launched in 2017.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European Parliament is currently discussing the Commission's proposal for a new EU Regulation on the Union Customs Code.

While supporting the aims of the customs reform to significantly improve the efficiency of the customs procedures in the EU, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) shared a series of concerns over the file with the legislators.

For Europe’s ports, the main and first worry about the Commission’s proposal is a drastic reduction of the period for the temporary storage from the current 90 to 3 days. ESPO therefore very much welcomes several amendments of the Members of the European Parliament to restore the 90 days period, which now appears to be reflected in the compromises on the table in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee.

The 90 days temporary storage plays a crucial role in ensuring the fluidity of cargo flows through ports, in particular, when other parties in the logistics chain do not provide in a timely manner the data required to place goods under a customs procedure. Temporary storage is also crucial in the context of transhipment, i.e. the movement of containers to an intermediate destination where they are transhipped between two ocean-going vessels and then shipped to another (final) destination, including non-EU ports. In fact, the “temporary storage” status must be seen as a useful “administrative waiting room” either to get the necessary information/data or, in case of transhipment call to collect the cargo and/or wait for the vessel to continue the voyage to the end destination of the goods. A shortened temporary storage period would leave an unacceptable amount of goods without an adequate customs procedure forcing terminals & shipping lines to be responsible to put goods under a customs bonded procedure. For European ports, a shortening of the current temporary storage period, as initially proposed by the European Commission, is neither acceptable nor practicable.

“We very much appreciate the support of the rapporteur and other members of the European Parliament for the 90 days temporary storage period. Shortening this period would both hamper the fluidity of cargo flows through ports and would again put certain European ports in an unlevel playing field with their neighbouring non-EU ports. We hope that the Parliament continues to support this point and, at the later stage also the Council. This would allow us to give our full support to the proposal and its ambition to take the Customs Union to the next level. In the current geopolitical and geo-economic context, an effective functioning of the customs is more than ever important“, says the ESPO Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

In addition, ESPO welcomes the recent adoption of the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on International Trade, which will also contribute to the strengthening of customs controls, the improvement of financial supervision, enhanced cooperation and a modernised, more unified governance across the EU.

Besides restoring the 90 days temporary storage period, ESPO is particularly supportive of amendments ensuring synergies between a new Customs Data Hub and the EU Maritime Single Window, clarifying minimum customs data requirements and ensuring legal continuity with regard to the implementation of the existing Union Customs Code.

ESPO remains open to further dialogue with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council in order to find workable solutions that contribute to trade facilitation and to an effective and uniform application of the EU customs legal framework.

For more information, please refer to the ESPO position paper.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The EU Parliament and Council on 18 December reached a deal on the review of the TEN-T Regulation, setting the requirements for all transport nodes and modes being part of the TEN-T network.

The new Regulation revises the original Regulation of 2013 which for the first time identified ports as nodes in the network.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) strongly supports the co-legislators’ decision to include energy ports in Europe’s transport network (TEN-T).

In accordance with the reached agreement and ESPO’s long-standing plea, a port’s position in the TEN-T network will now be assessed not only on the basis of tonnage, but also on its contribution to the energy transition.

European ports play a crucial role in Europe’s energy transition and security of energy supply. They build and strengthen the supply chains for the new energy landscape. Substantial efforts and investments are needed, as the new sources of energy come with specific transport needs, infrastructure, connectivities, storage and new supply chains. Ports cater to these new realities and adapt and expand their infrastructures and processes accordingly. It is fundamental that European legislation does the same and supports ports in their endeavours to generate high added value for Europe’s society.

“Even if volumes and tonnes remain an important indicator for ports as hubs in the logistic chain, it is not anymore the only indicator of performance. The decision to include ports that play an important role in the supply of energy in the TEN-T network is a huge step forward. It shows that the legislators recognise that energy is an important commodity and ports are key in ensuring both Europe’s energy security and energy transition. This energy role cannot always be counted in tonnes”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

It is now up to the Commission and Member States to put the new rules into practice and make sure to grant TEN-T status to those ports that comply with the new Regulation’s energy criterium (in Article 24).

The deal also foresees more ambitious rail requirements, including for port rail networks. Ports welcome the strengthening of and focus on strong rail connections, yet port rail networks can be very complex and are governed differently in the various ports. When implementing the new rail requirements in a port context, the respective Member States and the Commission should take well account of the specificities of the respective port.

As the final text of the agreed Regulation is still not publicly available, ESPO looks highly forward to the publication of the final text. ESPO would like to thank the European Parliament, Council and Commission for all their efforts in bringing the TEN-T Regulation and policy in line with today’s realities and challenges.

It is important to note that ESPO is preparing an update of its 2018 Port Investment study in view of identifying the infrastructure investment needs of European ports, both in terms of categories of investments and investments amounts. The updated study will be released during the TEN-T Days, taking place on 2 – 5 April in Brussels.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European SeaPorts Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the aim of the Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan to ensure that the European Union can become an important player in the production and supply of net-zero products and technologies and a competitive player in these new sectors.

ESPO also believes that a well-established net-zero industrial ecosystem in Europe is an important instrument for progressing fast and efficiently on the energy transition and reaching Europe’s climate ambitions.

However, for ESPO, such a plan can only deliver if the whole supply chain is considered on top of the net-zero technology manufacturing projects. The deployment of net-zero industries and the stepping up of the security of supply of raw materials and spare parts for these industries must be accompanied by a policy to facilitate and support the adaptation and upgrading of the supply chain infrastructure, particularly in ports, hinterland connections and maritime access needs in order to realise this ambition.

The importance of examining the supply chain needs resulting from the development of these new industries in Europe has been clearly recognised by the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) in its opinion on the Net-Zero Industry Act proposal, voted on 19 July 2023. The opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism can be found here.

ESPO welcomes in particular the amendments 7, 12, 28, 32, 36, 38 of the adopted text.

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the European Parliament, which has the lead on this file, is currently preparing the compromise amendments. ESPO is happy to see that similar amendments, reflecting the supply chain approach, have been tabled in the ITRE Committee and hopes that these will be taken up in the compromises and the vote in the Committee scheduled on 12 October 2023.

“To become an important player in the net-zero industry market, Europe needs to stimulate not only the production of net-zero industries and technologies but also the supply chain infrastructure needed to transport, export, store, import where relevant, the raw materials, spare parts needed for these industries as well as the finished products. We very much welcome the opinion of the Transport Committee of the Parliament in this regard. We do hope that the ITRE Committee will also integrate this supply chain approach in their report.” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

Several ports in Europe will, because of their location near sources of raw materials and/or new net-zero industries, see their activities growing in a short period. Many other ports could be ideal locations for these new activities. It is important to ensure that the infrastructure in the port, accessibility to and from the port is adapted following these new needs.

ESPO’s initial views on the Net-Zero Industry Plan are available here.

The ESPO looks forward to continuing the dialogue with the Parliament and Council in view of achieving a final agreement that reflects these concerns.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European Parliament will today, Monday, 10 July discuss in Strasbourg, France the final agreement on both the Regulation on the deployment of Alternative Fuel Infrastructure (‘AFIR’) - which sets the framework for the deployment of onshore power supply (OPS) in ports.

In addition the Regulation on the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in maritime transport and amending Directive 2009/16/EC (‘FuelEU Maritime’) - which regulates the use of OPS by ships in EU ports.

Both agreements will be voted on Wednesday 12 July. Once the Council has then formalised its agreement with the text, both AFIR and FuelEU Maritime are expected to enter into force shortly after.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the final agreements, allowing ports, terminals and shipping lines to prepare for their implementation.

“The final adoption of the AFIR allows ports and all port stakeholders who are to play a role in the deployment of OPS to effectively prepare for compliance with the new rules. The development and use of new fuels and energy solutions, such as onshore power supply, is the most important pillar of greening the shipping sector. For ESPO, it is important that for the first time, the strict framework for deployment of OPS is accompanied by an obligation to use the infrastructure. The emissions at berth will only go down if the OPS installations are properly used. We now have to take the legislation to the quay and sit together with all relevant stakeholders including shipping lines and terminal operators to make quick progress ahead of 2030.”, says ESPO Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

To assist their members in the process of deploying and using OPS in Europe’s ports, ESPO has already been organising different workshops. During these workshops different challenges relating to deployment and use of OPS have already been identified.

  • The challenges mainly relate to the cost of deploying onshore power supply and the lack of business case, even if all OPEX costs are charged for and a depreciation cost for the infrastructure is borne by the users.
  • At this stage, there is usually not enough grid capacity to provide several vessels at the same time with OPS.
  • Where onshore power installations are in place, the price is currently often preventing users to plug in. Moreover, in most of the countries, the port authorities are to pay all year long a fixed cost for a large capacity that they often only need during a few months (e.g. cruise). The pricing system for electricity in most of the countries is not suitable for OPS. A more favourable regime for OPS is in many countries not possible.
  • In larger ports, an upgrade of the grid network and capacity in the port, requires important additional investments in a service station and the upgrade of cables to the different quays and terminals.
  • The operations of connecting/disconnecting the ship to the onshore infrastructure differ from segment to segment. On container terminals there is staff permanently available. On cruise terminals not. Therefore, extra staff has to be foreseen on the quay, during the connecting and disconnecting times as well as in between in standby in case of emergency. These operations require skilled workers. The weight of the cables implies at least two people to handle an installation.
  • The OPS infrastructure is tailormade to every ship type, making the long-term planning and investment complicated. Installing a fit-for-all OPS installation does not seem possible. It is thus essential for the investing parties to know if and who will be the user.
  • There seems to be an unlevel playing field between Member States as regards the financing. In some Member States the ports can rely on substantial levels of funding whereas in others the public funding is limited or not existent. Important levels of EU funding will thus be needed.

“While many ports already have OPS, or are in an advanced stage of planning this infrastructure, it has become clear from our workshops that there is little experience with the deployment and certainly the operational challenges and costs for OPS at the scale required by the new Regulation. Ports in Europe are in a learning process but are eager to make quick progress. We believe it is important for both policy-makers and all stakeholders involved to follow the implementation process closely, to identify barriers, address problems and find adequate solutions where needed and possible.” continues Isabelle Ryckbost.

In accordance with the final AFIR text, 2030 will be the deadline for TEN-T ports to have onshore power (also known as shore-side electricity) infrastructure in place to serve the demand from container and passenger ships. The number of annual calls at the port (100 for container ships, 40 for passenger ships and 25 for cruise) triggers the obligation to have OPS in the port. Only ships that remain two hours or more at berth have to be supplied with shore-side electricity. FuelEU Maritime obliges ships to use the installations as from 2030, unless they use other zero emission technologies, with some exceptions until 2035.

Throughout the legislative process ESPO has been pleading for a goal-based approach and asked the legislators for the possibility to prioritise the OPS investments where it makes the most sense. Notwithstanding the prescriptive framework for OPS in article 9 of AFIR, ESPO’s members appreciate the text of recital 45 which refers to the different governance models for ports, allowing Member States to decide that the infrastructure is deployed within their ports in the different terminals according to the needs, in order to reach those targets. The text of the recital further stresses how important it is that the deployment within ports, and where relevant between terminals, be where the maximum return on investment and occupancy rate result in the highest environmental benefits in terms of greenhouse gases and air pollution reductions. ESPO hopes that the agreed-upon recital will be well considered in the implementation.

Furthermore, Europe’s ports very much welcome the emphasis (see recitals 4c and 7 and article 5, paragraph 5 of FuelEU Maritime) on the need for a coordinated approach to match demand and supply of onshore power supply involving all public and private stakeholders on both the ship side and port side, as well as any other relevant market actors, which should coordinate to allow for smooth operations on an everyday basis.

Finally, ESPO stresses once again that the huge investments that must be made in ports to meet the new AFIR requirements can only be realised if they come with significant public funding instruments which are fit for purpose. Installing and providing OPS infrastructure remains a complex and costly exercise, with a limited and slow return on investment for the managing body. Since the price tag will be an important element in the decision of the shipping lines to use OPS, ESPO also strongly calls for the introduction of an EU-wide permanent tax exemption for shore-side electricity in the reviewed Energy Taxation Directive. In the same mindset, given the contribution of OPS to the Green Deal objectives, and in light of the reinforced requirements, ESPO believes that funding should be foreseen for OPS projects in ports, under e.g. the Innovation Fund.

For your information, you can view the consolidated text of AFIR here and the provisional agreement on FuelEU Maritime here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

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

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
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