Growing trade and mega ships top Euro ports concern list

Growing and clustered traffic volumes, larger ships and the cost of subsequent adaptation of port and port-hinterland infrastructure, and increasing market power of shipping alliances are the main challenges for European ports, European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) said in the Mid-Term review of its 2011 White Paper on transport.

European ports identified several other points of concern, including: national budget constraints limiting the possibilities of public funding for transport infrastructure; volatility in energy prices, the transition to alternative fuels and entry into force of the stricter sulphur limits in ECA countries; an increasing societal and environmental pressure; and potential changes in shipping routes among others.

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, says ESPO.

For ESPO, three guiding principles are of outermost importance to pave the way to a competitive and resource-efficient transport system: coherence and coordination between EU transport policy and other EU policies, a need for a long-term vision, and making sure that EU action is always assessed in a global context.

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