Private investors play a key role in European Ports

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Violeta Bulc, European Transport Commissioner
Violeta Bulc, European Transport Commissioner

A high level delegation of private port terminals representatives and CEOs met with Commissioner Violeta Bulc today (Thursday) to discuss the key role of private investors in the modernisation and competiveness of European Ports

FEPORT’s President, Gunther Bonz, explained that in many ports the amount of private investments is significant and often equals or exceeds public investments: “This justifies an increased involvement of the private sector in the discussions and decision making processes regarding the development of port projects both at EU and national levels.”

Members of the FEPORT’s delegation gave their vision about the future of European ports. For them, smooth development of projects, clear and transparent contracting and implementing procedures as well as transparency about public funding are fundamental prerequisites to attract sustainable investments in European ports.

The private sector has taken the lead to innovate and modernize port operations. Use of technological innovation is expanding and significant resources are allocated to training so as to improve safety and efficiency on terminals.

Private port operators are playing a key enabling role for the maritime logistics chain at a time when many European ports are facing big challenges to accommodate bigger and bigger ships not only container but also Ro-Ros and Cruise liners and taking concrete measures to mitigate the environmental and societal side effects.

Simplification of administrative procedures and the establishment of a real “single window” are key success factors of a future holistic maritime logistics strategy that terminal operators would support and feed with concrete proposals.

Physical connection to the transport network and to the wider logistics chain on the land side is vital particularly if it takes into account the evolution of the needs of the sea side. In this respect, in connection with the future maritime year, terminal operators would welcome more dialogue between all maritime logistics stakeholders. Such a dialogue would certainly allow better understanding of the needs and expectations of all parties and would help to prioritise projects, to make targeted investments and to introduce simplification where needed.

FEPORT members reaffirmed their commitment to the ongoing social dialogue process which will allow social partners to manage the coming changes in ports. In this respect, they thanked Commissioner Bulc for her recognition of the results achieved so far by social partners, and for

her support to their efforts at EU but also company, local and national levels.