BPO at the TEN-T Days in Ljubljana
The Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) joined other members of the European transport community at the TEN-T Days 2018, held in Ljubljana on 25-27/4/2018. BPO representatives took part in the discussion surrounding the overall contribution of the Motorways of the Sea programme to the TEN-T policy along some predictions of what the maritime industry can expect in the coming years.
The session in question took place on the 25th April, 2018, the first day of the event. It has been opened by Brian Simpson, the European Coordinator for the Motorways of the Sea (MoS), introducing his latest Direct Implementation Plan (DIP) for the MoS. In preparation for the discussion panel, three main development pillars of the MoS, comprising of environment, the integration of maritime transport into the logistics chain and safety and traffic management, have been characterized in detail, followed by a set of recommendations for the future allotment of funds in the area of maritime transport.
After the groundwork has been laid, it was time for the discussion panel. The panelists focused their attention on the three pillars mentioned above, with particular attention paid to the most pressing needs in terms of investments which, with sufficient support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), would lead to generating the most added value in the future.
During the debate, Bogdan Ołdakowski, BPO Secretary General, touched upon Baltic Sea’s unique status as one of the world’s busiest shipping areas. This fact, coupled with a broad range of stringent environmental regulations active in the region, puts the Baltic maritime transport sector under a great deal of pressure. Adequate support from the side of MoS/CEF is necessary to ensure the competitiveness of the Baltic ports and shipping lines, operating under these strict conditions. Therefore, the pledge to support the industry in its efforts to lower pollution advocated in the DIP and the recognition of the importance of innovative projects is welcomed by the BPO.
The DIP also underscores the significance of Short Sea Shipping (SSS) and its role in creating a fully functioning internal market. MoS/CEF’s vow to increase its efforts to better integrate SSS in the logistics chain ties directly into another aspect highly important to the port industry in the Baltic region. There are about 76 comprehensive ports in the Baltic area. Comprehensive ports in the Baltic represent ca. 21% of the port market in the region. They are crucial for short sea shipping in the Baltic but also in the rest of the European Union and facilitate trade between EU members. It is crucial for comprehensive ports to receive sufficient attention when discussing the future allocation of CEF funds.
Bogdan Ołdakowski said after the debate:
“The BPO appreciates the support that the Baltic ports received in form of CEF grants. We expect investments in Baltic ports and maritime transport to enjoy continuous support from CEF in the future. It is especially important to keep note of the needs of comprehensive ports when discussing fund allocation. As to recommendations for CEF II, we expect a more balanced distribution of funds between various modes of transport. Such approach will be key to securing equal financial opportunities for maritime transport in the Baltic Sea region”.
Other topics discussed during the debate included the nature of investments needed to further stimulate the use of alternative fuels, with a special focus on LNG, in the maritime sector, as well as whether enough attention is paid to enhancing hinterland connectivity of the ports when planning the CEF fund allocation. In both cases, EU bodies could definitely benefit from the expertise which Baltic stakeholders bring to the table, especially in terms of implementation of LNG as marine fuel.
TEN-T Days 2018 in a nutshell
The TEN-T Days 2018 in Ljubljana are an opportunity for representatives of the EU and key stakeholders from the transport sector to discuss how they can work together towards a smart, sustainable and safe Mobility, by making the best use of the trans-European transport network, as well as investments in transport connectivity.
The TEN-T Days 2018 also hosted an idea accelerator and futuristic lab, allowing young European entrepreneurs and companies to showcase innovative mobility solutions.