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Displaying items by tag: European Sea Ports Organisation

#ShipRecycling – The European Parliament has today rejected proposals to introduce a levy on all ships calling at EU ports that would finance a fund to support sustainable recycling of ships.

The proposal had been introduced earlier by Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Instead, MEPs approved an amendment which calls upon the European Commission to submit by 2015 a legislative proposal for an incentive-based system that would facilitate safe and sound ship recycling.

"We welcome the outcome of the vote", said European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, "We understand the need to create an incentive for shipowners to opt for sustainable recycling, but the side-effects of the levy on the competitiveness of EU ports would have been very negative in terms of traffic evasion, changed ship calling patterns and modal back shift, not to mention the bureaucracy involved with it.

By referring the task to create an incentive-based system to the Commission, there will be time to work out an adequate framework which would match the aim of creating sustainable conditions for ship recycling with respect for international rules and the competitiveness of European ports."

The vote by the EU Parliament is not a final one, it gave a mandate to open negotiations with Council in order to come to an agreement in first reading.

 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#EUROPORTS – European Heads of State and Government are coming together this week, in another attempt to make a deal on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), the overall European budget for the years 2014-2020 and the budgets to be allocated to the different policies.

European sea and inland ports are urging European leaders not to touch the envelope of €31.7 billion foreseen for Europe's transport infrastructure investments under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Last spring, the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) and European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) took the lead in a campaign set up by 28 European transport organisations to secure the TEN-T budget. Both organisations also encouraged their members to sign the declaration that was initiated by Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas at the end of last year.

EFIP Director Isabelle Ryckbost points out: "The proposed TEN-T budget is aimed at financing a concrete transport infrastructure plan, that will benefit all transport modes, Member States and regions.

The €31.7 billion will not only serve transport as such. By optimising transport links and transport nodes, all other policies, not in the least Europe's cohesion and agriculture policy will benefit. In that sense, the TEN-T budget has a real spill over effect and can be considered as one of the best ways of spending European money. It would be a shame if European leaders were to cut this budget and plan."

ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven confirms: "We hope European leaders will realise that a 3% share of the overall budget is a bare minimum for a sector that directly employs 10 million people and counts for about 5% of GDP.

This is certainly the case for ports. Ports are real job creators and engines for regional development. Moreover, as the main gateways to the world, seaports are essential to ensuring Europe's economic growth."

 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#PORTS NEWS – A major two-day ports conference organised by the European Commission, started today in Brussels, where 400 delegates representing different stakeholders within the port sector are attending.

The aim of the conference is to analyse the current EU policy framework for ports, which is laid down in a communication of the Commission that was published in 2007. The outcome of the review is not decided yet, with options ranging between doing nothing, guidance on application of Treaty rules and full-blown legislation.

"We firmly believe that the European Union has the potential to be a positive force in establishing a renaissance of port management and policy", said European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Chairman Victor Schoenmakers in his statement at the conference. "This can be done by, on the one hand, ensuring a level playing field and legal certainty, and, on the other hand, fostering growth and development of ports."

Raising the specific challenges of port authorities, Mr Schoenmakers highlighted access to port land as a principal point of attention. "The most important asset that port authorities have is land. The way we give access to that land to operators is therefore essential. Whether we do this through public domain concessions or private land lease contracts is irrelevant.

"What matters is the ability to balance transparency and flexibility when using these instruments. Having clear, but also proportional guidance on the application of relevant Treaty rules is for us therefore an essential element of a common ports policy, next to guidance on State aid and guidance on the freedom to provide services."

The ports policy conference will be followed by a further consultation on the options at hand and an impact assessment. The outcome of the process is expected for spring next year.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Dr. Leo Varadkar, T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport will open a major conference on the future development of Dublin Port at 9 am tomorrow at The Gibson Hotel, Dublin (beside the Point Village). Among the issues to be addressed at the conference will include: economic; infrastructure; planning; transport; tourism; and environmental considerations.

Speakers and panellists on the day will include: Danny McCoy, Director General, IBEC; Jim Power, Economist; Dr. Don Thornhill, Chairman, National Competitiveness Council; Gina Quin, CEO, Dublin Chamber; Michael Stubbs; Dublin City Assistant Manager; John Whelan, CEO, Irish Exporters Association; Eamonn McKeon, CEO, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation; Peter Nash, Tourism Ireland; Nigel O'Neill, Head of Strategic Planning, NRA; Stephen Ahearne, General Manager – Freight, Irish Rail; Tom Wilson of the Freight Transport Association; Marian Wilson; Head of Transport Planning, National Transport Authority; Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General, European Sea Ports Organisation; Brendan McDonough, Manager of Strategic Planning and EU, IDA Ireland; Eamonn O'Reilly, CEO, Dublin Port Company; and Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson, Dublin Port Company.

The conference is part of Dublin Port Company's consultation on the future development of Dublin Port, which will need to handle 60 million tonnes - double today's throughput – by 2040. The key question to be addressed is how Dublin Port Company can achieve this taking into consideration the Port's role and responsibilities across trade, tourism, transport and the natural and built environments.

Dublin Port Company is seeking submissions on the development of a Masterplan by 31st May, 2011.

Published in Dublin Port

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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