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Europe’s ambition as enshrined in The European Green Deal published on 11 December, to become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050 has been welcomed by European Sea Ports Organisation.

According to ESPO, European ports are at the crossroads of supply chains. As clusters of transport, energy, industry and blue economy, they add great value and are at the service of the European economy and society. They are a strategic partner in making this ambitious European project happen.

In the coming weeks, ESPO and its members will put forward concrete proposals on how to contribute in the best and most effective way to implement the objectives of the Green Deal.

“We share the European Green Deal ambition, which is in line with ESPO’s priorities for the period 2019-2024. The publication of the European Green Deal is an important milestone. Together with our members, we are now developing a concrete plan on how to go forward, how ports can contribute, what policy and financial instruments are needed to support European ports in this huge project. We are looking forward to working with the Commission, Parliament and Council in shaping the policy”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost

Published in Ports & Shipping

A process has begun at the European Commission for reviewing the 2013 TEN-T guidelines with a public consultation before next summer.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) believes the review should not lead to a complete change of direction in the TEN-T policy. The rationale of the 2013 guidelines remains the same: achieving an efficient, sustainable and multimodal Transport Infrastructure Network in Europe.

ESPO, however believes that the European Commission should use the review as an opportunity to level the playing field between the maritime and the land links.

“More than 30 % of intra EU freight traffic is currently going over sea. The ongoing digitalisation, the progress on the internal market for maritime transport with the new European Single Window Environment framework and the greening of shipping, which seems to be delivering first on the short sea links, will give maritime transport within the EU, and even within one Member State, a new impetus. It is now time to fully recognise the contribution of maritime transport to the aims of Europe’s Transport Infrastructure policy. The maritime dimension must be brought on an equal footing with the land-based corridors and links,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

More concretely, ESPO refers to the following discrepancies between the maritime and the land network:

  • The TEN-T guidelines are currently only recognising maritime links between two Member States as TEN-T short sea links, the so-called Motorways of the Sea. The links between two ports within one Member State are not considered as Motorways of the Sea, whereas the TEN-T road or rail network is also recognising the national stretches as part of the TEN-T network.
  • Even if seaports are in most cases situated on the territory of one Member State, they are a part of the maritime border of a country. Being the gateway for trade with other EU member states and third countries, maritime ports must be seen as cross-border entities or sections. Moreover, also in their hinterland, ports are serving a catchment area that largely exceeds the local or national borders.

The full contribution of ESPO to the public consultation on the review of the Regulation 1315/2013 on Union Guidelines for the Development of the Trans-European Transport Network can be found here.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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It was congratulations from the European Sea Ports Organisation as the Port of Barcelona (Spain), Port of Vigo (Spain) and Port of Baku (Azerbaijan) achieved an EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS).

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, handed over the PERS certificates to the ports’ representatives during the GreenPort Congress in Oslo (see related report). 

“I would like to congratulate Port of Barcelona and Port of Vigo for renewing EcoPorts’ environmental standard and Port of Baku for obtaining it for the first time. Ports in Europe are more than ever investing to improve their environmental performance and to get their “licence to operate” from the local community. Transparency and sharing information with stakeholders and local communities are among the main requirements of the EcoPorts environmental standard. Being PERS certified shows that ports measure and share results. PERS ports strengthen the EcoPorts Network and help us monitoring the environmental performance of the whole sector at EU level,” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

“It is important that the number of European ports certified with an international environmental standard (EMS) has significantly increased the last five years. EcoPorts’ PERS which is the only port-specific standard available, has become well recognised and one of the most preferred by the sector. Port’s environmental performance certified by environmental standards such as PERS, is ‘factored –in’ to calculations of premiums by insurance companies and is an evidence of port’s efforts to contribute to the greening of the supply chain,” says EcoPorts coordinator, Sotiris Raptis.

Compliance with the EcoPorts’ PERS standard is independently assessed by Lloyd’s Register 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.

You can find more information on EcoPorts’ PERS here.

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The European Sea Ports Organisation today presented its annual Environmental Report for 2019 at the GreenPort Congress in Oslo, Norway.

The ESPO Environmental Report includes more than 60 different environmental performance benchmarks including figures on the green services to shipping (shore-side electricity, LNG and environmentally differentiated port dues) and the Top 10 Environmental Priorities of the European ports.

Air quality continues as the top environmental priority, followed by energy consumption. Air quality has become a key determinant of public “acceptance” of port activity in the years to come. Climate change, included in the Top 10 of the environmental priorities for the first time two years ago, is this year the third top priority after air quality and energy consumption. Almost eight out of ten European ports take climate change into consideration when they develop new infrastructure projects. Furthermore, 62% of ports strengthen the climate resilience of existing infrastructure and 47% of them have already dealt with operational challenges due to climate change. The relationship with the local community, which is of outmost importance for ports, is in position five this year. The 2019 citizen is stronger, better informed and more engaged. The local community is the new influencer and this is also for ports an important reality.

Transparency is clearly a high priority with 87% of the ports communicating their environmental policy to the stakeholders and 82% of them making it publicly available on their website. With regard to the green services to shipping, more than half of the ports are offering shore-side electricity for ships at berth (OPS), 48% of them providing high voltage electricity for seagoing vessels. One third of them has made LNG bunkering available, LNG being mainly provided by trucks (90%) and by barges (20%). In parallel, 56% of ports provide environmentally differentiated fees for ships that go beyond regulatory standards, with air emissions, waste and climate change being the main targets of these discounts.

In addition, 71% of the ports are certified with an environmental standard (ISO, EMAS, EcoPorts’ PERS) increased by 17% since 2013. 82% of ports have set up an environmental monitoring program, waste being the most monitored issue.

Aiming to further increase the transparency and accountability of the European port sector and to enhance the relationship of ports with their local communities, ESPO decided to publish the annual Environmental Report of the European port sector as from 2016. The report provides quality data on ports’ environmental performance and is becoming a point of reference for policy makers and stakeholders, including local communities, civil society, researchers and industry. 94 ports have been participating in this year’s report.

"In this year’s report, we see that ports continue to invest in green infrastructure such as shore-side electricity for ships at berth. However, we have to be aware of the increased investment costs and the technical challenges that prevent shore-side electricity from making today a strong business case. Increased costs relating to the connection with the grid and the electricity shortage at city or regional level are often additional barriers. Importantly, the price differential remains high due to level of taxation under EU Energy Taxation Directive and national levies applied to electricity price. Uncertainty on the use and the prospect of other promising technologies such as hydrogen makes it difficult to decide.

We encourage all ports to join EcoPorts in order to improve their environmental performance and better communicate their environmental policy. It will also broaden the sample of ports that feed into the annual benchmark performance of the sector.” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

The data for the report was obtained from the responses of 94 ESPO-member EU/EEA ports’ responses to the EcoPorts Self Diagnosis Method (SDM). The SDM is updated by EcoPorts’ members every two years.

The indicators included in this report feed into PortinSights, which is ESPO’s new tool for European ports to collect, share, compare and analyse their data. The digital platform includes throughput data, environmental data from EcoPorts and governance data.

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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The European Commission before summer kicked off the review of the TEN-T Regulation 1315/2013 with a public consultation. The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) submitted its proposals for the review.

“European ports remain strong supporters of the 2013 Europe’s Transport Infrastructure Policy, which literally put the seaports on the TEN-T map. It is now time to adapt the framework to the new market realities, new challenges and new needs. Looking in a more comprehensive way at what ports can do, not only for transport, but also in terms of decarbonisation of society and digitalisation of supply chains and having that mirrored in the guidelines, is one of the to-do’s in this review. Nowadays ports are much more than a component of maritime transport, they have a pivotal role between the different modes and the different networks”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

For European ports, the review must be used, above all, as an opportunity to update the TEN-T network in relation to new market realities (such as volume growth, scale increases); new societal challenges (climate, air pollution, noise, increasing urbanisation); new needs (digitalisation, automation, e-commerce); and as a consequence, the changing role of European ports.

ESPO believes that seaports are more than a “component of maritime transport infrastructure”. The new TEN-T guidelines should be adapted to recognise the role many seaports are playing as strategic multimodal nodes, nodes of energy and digital hubs on top of their classical role as components of maritime transport infrastructure. Their unique role makes each European port a strategic partner in responding to today’s main challenges of decarbonisation and digitalisation.

Moreover, over the last years, European ports have been increasingly involved in a process of cooperation, clustering and merging, both bottom-up and top-down. The new TEN-T policy should take into account and encourage these developments in the port sector. European ports believe that port clusters have to be clearly defined in the framework of the future TEN-T policy. While the clustering should not change the initial identification of “core” and “comprehensive” ports, individual projects should be assessed in terms of their relevance for the cluster and thus the network as such.

ESPO stresses the importance of Motorways of the Sea (MoS) as an integral and important part of the TEN-T network and believes that the maritime dimension should be considered equally important as the land-based TEN-T corridors. In order to use the full potential of the network’s maritime links, short sea shipping should be strongly facilitated as an equally important transport mode for intra-European transport next to the other transport modes. In that regard, MoS requirements should be reviewed and the maritime links between two countries should be fully acknowledged and prioritised as cross-border.

Finally, ESPO points out that the deadlines for realising the core and comprehensive TEN-T network can only be met with the full support of Member States, and if the engagement of the Union and its Member States comes with a corresponding budget. ESPO’s study on the investment needs of European ports has revealed that the ports’ investment needs amount to 48 billion EUR over the next ten years. In the period 2014-2017, port managing bodies have only been able to obtain 4% of the CEF transport budget.

The Public Consultation on the review will be followed by an evaluation study and other targeted consultations. The Commission proposal for a revision is planned for the first semester of 2021.

To read the full position (download pdf) here.

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#ports - European Seaports Organisation (ESPO) has welcomed the Common Understanding between the European Parliament and the Council on the future Connecting Europe Facility (CEF II).

With its vote yesterday, the European Parliament’s Transport and Industry Committees confirmed the partial agreement, which sets out the EU’s funding priorities and modalities in the transport sector for the period 2021-2027. The precise budget, as well as horizontal provisions such as Cohesion funding and the way third countries can participate in the programme will be negotiated under the new Parliament.

ESPO strongly supports the European Parliament’s call for an increased transport budget of €33.5 bn. The budget proposed by the European Commission is insufficient to complete the TEN-T network and to invest in a safe, modern and sustainable transport network. Moreover, ESPO believes the proposed €10 bn transfer from the Cohesion Fund to CEF II should be safeguarded.

“The Parliament has given a strong signal in favour of an increased transport budget for the coming years. We embrace this decision and hope it will be confirmed in the further negotiations. Completing the TEN-T network as foreseen is crucial for the future of Europe. But on top of that, enormous efforts are to be made in the field of decarbonisation and digitalization. We also hope that the proposed transfer from the Cohesion Fund to CEF II will be safeguarded. Cohesion policy aims at reducing the economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist in the Union. It is in that respect fundamental that the Cohesion countries can step up their transport infrastructure in line with the TEN-T priorities that apply to the entire Union.” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s secretary general.

ESPO regrets that the definition of cross-border links has been weakened by the Council. For European ports, it is important to recognise the cross-border nature of projects, which are carried out in one Member State, but which have a substantial cross-border impact. Given their role as gateways to cross-border trade and the cross-border impact of port projects, ports should be considered as international in nature and thus be placed on an equal priority with cross-border projects. In this regard, ESPO welcomes that any type of cross-border cooperation is recognised rather than the mandatory set-up of a single project company.

ESPO believes that in order to achieve a fully integrated and operational TEN-T network, more attention needs to be given to the maritime pillar and to ports within the TEN-T network. European ports are not only essential nodes of transport and logistics, linking maritime with all others modes of transport, they have also developed into important nodes of energy, industry and blue economy. In order to fulfil their role as sustainable, efficient and state-of-the-art ports, continuous investments are needed.

“Even if they are situated on the territory of one country, ports have a fundamental role to play in enhancing the cross-border connectivity within Europe and between Europe and the world. This cross-border impact should be better recognised in the future. Next to their role as transport nodes, Europe’s seaports are nodes of energy, industry and blue economy. They are strategic areas for Europe’s growth. Port authorities are managing these complex port ecosystems and can be drivers of change well beyond the port area.” adds Isabelle Ryckbost.

European Ports call on the policy makers to continue the negotiations on the basis of the Common Understanding and call for a swift adoption of CEF II to ensure a timely preparation of the Work Programmes.

The EP plenary vote of this agreement is scheduled for the 15-18 April Strasbourg session. To download Port Investment Study click here. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Ports&Shipping- At the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Industry Committee jointly yesterday adopted the Marinescu- Telička- Virrkkunen report on the Connecting Europe Facility proposal 2021-2027.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the demand for an increased budget for transport. Members of the committees voted to raise the general envelope of the CEF transport budget by €7bn to €33.51bn (in constant prices). The significant role of transport for the development of the Union had been equally recognised by the Parliament’s request for a higher CEF transport budget during the vote on the next MFF.

ESPO particularly appreciates the recognition of the cross-border potential of port projects. Port projects, which are carried out in one Member State, can nevertheless have a substantial cross-border impact, by enhancing connectivity on the sea side, or in the hinterland beyond the borders of a single Member State.

For the first time, the Commission proposed to include an envelope for military mobility in the transport budget. With their vote the Committees have strengthened the civilian priority of dual-use projects eligible under this priority, which addresses one of ESPO's main concerns. ESPO welcomes the broadening of the scope from the exclusive focus on enabling the movement of military troops and equipment, to also cover investments in cyber security resilience and for security and civil protection purposes. 

ESPO Secretary-General Isabelle Ryckbost said: "We would like to congratulate the Transport Committee and thank in particular the rapporteurs for achieving a compromise that clearly strengthens the Commission proposal in terms of budget but also in terms of priorities. The Parliament clearly recognizes the importance of strengthening the cross-border connectivity not only on the land side but also on the maritime side. We hope a solution can be found with the Council, which gives the necessary importance to Motorways of the Sea. In the last 3 years only 4 % of the budget was spent on port projects, whereas 95% of world trade goes over sea and 70% of rail freight is coming from the ports."

ESPO remains concerned about the priorities listed in the Annex. Both, Motorways of the Sea (MoS) as a horizontal priority, as well as all maritime and port projects, which are included in the current CEF priorities, have been deleted from the listed priorities. 

ESPO considers the maritime dimension of the TEN-T network, and ports as the strategic links between waterborne and land-based transport, as fundamentally important for the connectivity within Europe and with third countries. This importance should be better reflected by the Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027. 

The vote of the European Parliament has been scheduled for the December plenary. The negotiations between Council and Parliament are expected to start early 2019.

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#Ports&Shipping - Eamonn O’Reilly has been unanimously re-elected as European Sea Ports Organisation (EPSO) Chairman following a vote of the organisation's General Assembly in Brussels yesterday afternoon.

For the past two years O’Reilly has been chairing ESPO in addition he is the Chief Executive of the Dublin Port Company since 2010.

The General Assembly also re-elected Annaleena Mäkilä and elected Zeno d’Agostino as Vice-Chairs. Ms Mäkilä is currently Managing Director of the Finnish ports Association and has been Vice Chair since 2014. Mr d’Agostino is President of Assoporti, the Italian Association of Ports and President of the Port Network Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea. Z. d’Agostino replaces Bernard Mazuel (UPF-France) who has been Vice Chair for the last four years.

Upon his election, Mr O’Reilly said: “I am very honoured to have been asked by my colleagues in the European port industry to continue as Chairman of ESPO for another two years. ESPO is a creation of the movement to realise the Single European Market and for 25 years has represented the interests of our industry in dialogues with the European institutions. The EU and ESPO are much changed over this time and new challenges lie ahead. The first 25 years of ESPO has coincided with the creation of the legislative framework for Europe’s ports. The next 25 years will be more about implementation. This change of emphasis sees ESPO adapting to the needs of its member ports with value-adding initiatives such as EcoPorts, PortinSights, the new Port Business Platform and the now ten year old ESPO Award promoting port-city integration. These initiatives will be of increasing importance in the years ahead as ESPO and the EU respond to the forces of change."

During its General Assembly, ESPO also published its Annual Report 2017-2018, which outlines the activities of the organisation over the past year. A copy of the report can be found here.

ESPO also congratulates Port of Dublin, for renewing EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS). Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, Sotiris Raptis, EcoPorts coordinator, and Zeno d'Agostino, ESPO Vice-Chair handed over the PERS certificate to the port representative during the General Assembly.

Being PERS certified requires amongst others that the port increases transparency by making its environmental report publicly available. It also implies that the port is effectively monitoring the environmental challenges and is implementing an improved environmental management.

“PERS has been the flagship of the EcoPorts network being the only port specific environmental standard. The transparency requirements of PERS enable ports to enhance their relationship with local communities and their market reputation within the supply chain. We encourage all ports to join EcoPorts in order to further improve their environmental performance and communicate their environmental policy,” says EcoPorts coordinator, Sotiris Raptis.

One third of the 98 EcoPorts members have now acquired PERS. Compliance with the PERS standard is independently assessed by Lloyd’s Register and the certificate has a validity of two years. PERS is revised after the 2-year period to make sure that the port continues to meet the requirements.

In addition (last night) was to be the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of ESPO and the 10th annual ESPO Award on Societal Integration.

The theme of this year’s ESPO Award is ‘Ports as a Good Work Environment for Everyone’. Deputy Director-General of DG Move Maja Bakran will be announcing the winner at a ceremony taking place at ‘Palais des Académies’ in Brussels. (Award winner to be known at around 10.15 pm)

 

Published in Dublin Port

#Ports&Shipping - The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism on 15th October published the draft report on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment, which came out on 17 May.

The rapporteur, MEP Deirdre Clune (EPP-Ireland) rightly focuses in her draft report on the harmonisation of data elements and data sets, advocates the cooperation between customs and maritime authorities at both national and Union level and recognises that, even with a fully harmonised data set, competent authorities might for some reasons require additional data. The draft report moreover states that Member states should allow the use of port community systems, as long as those systems are then passing the necessary information to the National Single Window. The rapporteur also stresses the need to provide National Single Windows with a governance dimension and takes a realistic approach concerning the reporting only once principle.

“The draft report of Ms Clune shows a clear ambition to move towards further harmonisation. It will oblige all stakeholders, including port authorities, to set serious steps. It however also recognises the initiatives and investments already in place or under development to achieve a more efficient reporting environment for ships. We believe this draft report further improves the Commission’s draft proposal. The draft report is a solid basis for further discussions. We support the main lines and hope that it can be supported by the Transport committee. This file is already for a long time on the agenda of both EU policy makers and the port and maritime industry. We believe that with these proposals a deal can be reached very quickly with the Commission and the Council, allowing an adoption before the European elections,” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General.

European ports remain however concerned about the development of a harmonised reporting interface module for the National Single Windows. They fear that such a solution will not be flexible to respond to fast moving technological developments in the field.

The draft report will be discussed in the Transport Committee on 5 November.

The ESPO position on the proposal can be downloaded here.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

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The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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