European ports are real “multitaskers”: they combine different functions ranging from gateway to the world, nodes in the transport chain, hotspots for Europe’s industrial activity, safe and secure shelters, the link between Europe’s peripheral regions and islands to the mainland, key players in the transport of passengers, nodes of energy, facilitators for different other sectors and sometimes an essential part of an emergency supply chain.
Gathering in Athens for the 12th edition of its Annual Conference, European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has presented today its views on the Mid-Term review of the 2011 White Paper on transport.
This position paper must feed the review process recently started in the Commission, which should result in an “adjustment” or “review” of the strategic document of 2011.
The Commission wants to know if the challenges identified in 2011 are still valid. The main challenges European ports have identified are: growing traffic volumes which are more and more clustered; ever-increasing ships size and the cost of subsequent adaptation of port and port-hinterland infrastructure; increasing market power of shipping lines as a result of alliances ; national budget constraints limiting the possibilities of public funding for transport infrastructure; volatility in energy prices
, the new energy landscape
and the transition to alternative fuels; entry into force of the stricter sulphur limits in ECA countries; an increasing societal and environmental pressure; potential changes in shipping routes; the geo-political situation; further globalization of business and society and the remaining barriers to the internal market for maritime transport.
Taking account of these challenges, ESPO believes that the main Vision of the 2011 White Paper, which recognizes the growth of mobility and transport, is more than ever valid and supports the ambitious target of reducing GHG emissions by 60%.
But, for European ports the modal shift policy has not really delivered. Transport policy should aim at shifting towards an efficient, sustainable and smart mobility for all modes of transport.