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Displaying items by tag: ESPO Conference

The Annual Conference of the European Sea Port Organisation (ESPO) is heading to the Port of Valencia, Spain where the theme of this 18th edition of the conference is “Empowering Europe’s ports”.

The two day conference takes place on 2 and 3 June and will take place at the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum. 

Europe’s ports are no longer operating in a societal, commercial, and geopolitical safe and stable environment as we have known during the last decades.

The global health crisis we went through over the last two years and the war in Ukraine we are experiencing at the moment require ports to be agile and resilient at all times. At the same time, challenged by the upcoming multipolar world, Europe is trying to achieve strategic autonomy, thereby safeguarding a stable trade and economic environment and ensuring the security of supply of critical raw materials and goods.

With realities changing overnight, it becomes increasingly difficult to make long-term investment plans and strategies. This disruptive societal, commercial, and geopolitical environment comes also at a time where ports are setting course to realise Europe’s ambition and prepare for a carbon-neutral and digitally smart future.

How can ports prepare today for the world of tomorrow? Which role are Europe’s ports to play in the supply chains of tomorrow? How will the trade patterns evolve? How will the new energy landscape impact port infrastructure and spatial planning? Is the current energy crisis a catalysator of the green transition or a game stopper? In short, how to empower Europe’s ports and how can ports empower Europe’s economy and society?

These are some of the questions to be addressed at the forthcoming ESPO Conference. As usual, the Conference will feature a series of top speakers and experts, but will also offer an excellent platform for discussions and exchanges between port professionals, port stakeholders, academics, and EU policy makers.

After more than two years, there is a strong need to catch up among port professionals and friends. A breakout session at the end of day one, as well as the usual conference dinner on 2 June will offer excellent opportunities for networking. The ESPO Conference as well as the conference dinner will take place in the heart of the unique Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències.

Reasons enough to already clear your agenda now for 2 and 3 June for this annual highlight of the European port industry and keep a close eye on your mailbox since registrations and the full programme will be available very soon.

If you want to be sure not to miss this, drop us a message expressing your interest at [email protected] and we will contact you personally when it is time to book!

Published in Ports & Shipping

In the upcoming review of TEN-T guidelines, they have been one of the central topics during the first two days of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Conference Regatta 2021.

European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, Motorways of the Sea (MoS) Coordinator Prof. Kurt Bodewig, Members of the European Parliament and port representatives presented and discussed their views and expectations of the upcoming review of Europe’s transport infrastructure policy.

“During the discussions with EU policy makers we have seen a clear recognition of the role of Europe’s seaports and a clear understanding that this should be translated in a policy that strengthens both the sustainability and resilience of the maritime and port sector, while addressing the needs in basic infrastructure and port connectivity. This very much aligns with our ESPO position where we call for a level playing field of the land-based and the maritime dimension of Europe’s transport network and for a recognition of the strategic and diverse role of ports. As gateways to the world, being at the crossroads of supply chains, as hubs of energy, industry and blue economy, ports can substantially contribute to a sustainable, digital and resilient European recovery,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

In her opening address to the ESPO Conference Regatta, European Transport Commissioner Vălean said: “Our ambition is to better integrate maritime links in the TEN-T as part of the logistic chain for obvious reasons related to decarbonisation and efficiency. In addition, we want to better connect maritime links of the core network with rail freight corridors and better integrate the Motorways of the Sea programme within the TEN-T policy.”

During his intervention, Motorways of the Sea Coordinator Prof. Bodewig approached the MoS concept as a sustainable, smart and seamless European Maritime Space, but acknowledged that in addition to these three pillars, resilience will play a central role for the European transport system. Increased resilience of the overall transport system requires a stronger maritime dimension, including more and new maritime connections, as well as the development of port infrastructure.

“A strong and resilient maritime sector is key to ensure a sustainable development and competitiveness of the European economy. I strongly advocate investments in fleet renewals, alternative fuels and last-mile connections to the TEN-T,” remarked the MoS Coordinator Prof. Bodewig.

Motorways of the Sea (MoS) Coordinator Prof. Bodewig during the ESPO Conference Regatta 2021

In his key note speech, EIB Vice President Kris Peeters emphasised: “We should still invest in basic infrastructure, but it is important to consider the value for the supply chains.”

In the lead-up to the Conference Regatta, the European Sea Ports Organisation had adopted a joint position on the TEN-T revision (enclosed), focusing on the following 11 points:

  • The changing role of ports
  • Basic infrastructure needs remain, but additional diverse infrastructure needs come on top
  • The main goals of EU transport infrastructure policy
  • A strong maritime dimension: levelling the playing field
  • Greening the TEN-T network
  • Adjustment of the network
  • Ports as strategic nodes
  • Last-mile a first priority
  • European seaports are critical for a resilient transport system
  • Enhancing the digitalisation of the port ecosystem
  • Policy coherence and synergies

The full position can be found here.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

Time is fast approaching for the European Sea Ports Organisation Conference which is to be held between 25-28 May.

The event will be the European port industry's gathering and as the 17th edition of the ESPO Conference.

This year, ESPO, however will take you on a trip through Europe without you leaving your seat!

The Conference Regatta is crossing Europe from South to North. You can attend the whole conference or only one day of this online event, and benefit from the family rate if five or more people from your organisation are joining.

The three host ports, Port of Valencia, North Sea Port and Port of Oslo, are showing the best of themselves to offer all speakers and delegates an exceptional platform for discussion.

ESPO Conferences are more than just a conference and, this time again, we have found ways to make you move and – why not – have a good time!

The theme for this year’s conference is “Europe’s ports at the crossroads of transitions”. The health and related economic crisis the world is going through, combined with the green and digital transitions, mean a major transformation of Europe’s economy and society. This is probably the perfect storm for Europe’s ports and port industry. Being at the crossroads of these transitions, Europe’s seaports can play a crucial role in preparing Europe’s economy and society for a strong and resilient future. The Conference Regatta will be touching on all of these game changers and aims to offer a unique platform for exchange of views and solutions. There is so much to talk about!

So, book now for this unique event, if you want to have an economic outlook of European ports and be part of a discussion on the changing role of ports, if you want to know more about the main EU policy issues of importance to the European port and maritime industry, or if you want to learn about the best pathways to the greening of shipping and to know what ports are doing on their journey to becoming zero-emission areas.

The Conference Regatta features an impressive line-up of high-level speakers ranging from top EU decision makers and port CEOs to maritime experts, academics and some off-the-beaten-track keynote speakers.

Since it is time to move on and prepare for life after the pandemic, we have set up a dedicated session with a sport coach and physiotherapist who will tell you all you need to know to stay healthy in these digital times.

Check out the programme and details for registration here. Book now and be part of this annual highlight of the European port industry.

Still hesitating to register, contact +32 2 736 34 63 if you have any questions.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

In view of the European elections, which will lead to a new Commission, a new European Parliament and a new vision for Europe, European ports have prepared a memorandum emphasising the role port managing bodies can play as facilitators of the port ecosystem.

The ESPO memorandum identifies ten priorities, ten fields of action and importance for the next five years.

The memorandum has been presented during the ESPO annual conference which began today in Livorno, Italy, by ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost who said: “The memorandum explains how ports can contribute to Europe’s competitiveness. It’s more than just a shopping list of what Europe needs to do or not for European ports. European ports are the entry gates for trade, are at the crossroads of supply chains and are hotspots of energy, industry, innovation and digitalisation. We believe that European ports are a strategic partner in achieving Europe’s goals in terms of digitalisation and decarbonisation.”

ESPO’s Chairman Eamonn O’Reilly explains: “For us, the days of the port authority simply acting as a superintendent are gone. Ports must engage with port-based industries and operators to influence and assist in the enormous changes that will come about: climate change, sustainability, digitalisation and the volatile global trade and geopolitical environment. We are very supportive of any policy that allows ports to further develop and contribute to responding to today’s challenges.”

The theme of the 16th edition of the ESPO conference is “Europe’s ports in a new world”.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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