Efficiency takes first place at the ESPO 2016 Conference
On 2 and 3 June, European ports, including many representatives from the Baltic region, assembled at the 2016 ESPO Conference in Dublin. Baltic Ports Organization says efficiency of maritime transport and ports was the main focus point. Dublin Port was the host for the 13th edition of this annual event.
Maritime policy is an integral part of the European Commission’s 2017 agenda. Therefore, the first panel of the conference has been dedicated to identifying the barriers, that plague the internal market for maritime transport and the steps needed to tear them down.
The first day also saw the launch of the ESPO Code of Good Practices for Cruise and Ferry Ports, which aims to formulate a series of good practices to change the five challenges that European cruise and ferry ports are currently dealing with – port-city relationship, infrastructure, cooperation, relation with the cruise and ferry lines and security. It also strives to inform policy makers and the wider public about the characteristics, challenges and bottom-up initiatives taken by European port authorities.
Stavros Hatzakos, the Chairman of the Cruise and Ferry Network, said: “The making of this code has shown the network to be a unique node of knowledge and of exchange of good practices at the service of every port in Europe that wants to improve its performance in the cruise and ferry business and for every port, who is a newcomer in the business.”
“Baltic Sea is an arena of very intensive cruise and ferry traffic, so I am convinced that the ESPO Code will be used by many Baltic ports” – commented Bogdan Oldakowski, BPO Secretary General.
Another topic that garnered a lot of attention at the event was the need for the ports to make better use of the existing capacity in transport - a result of the growing trade volumes and climate change policies. The proposed answers were digitalization and the ability to profit from the usage of large quantities of data. Ports would need to update their procedures and develop system separation in order to protect the data against the threat of cybercrime.
The conference also cast a look beyond the European borders. It investigated how the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU might benefit ports on both sides of the Atlantic and examined the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” policy and its influence on the dynamics between the European maritime ports and the hinterland.
Moreover, the ESPO Conference witnessed the presentation of the “Trends in EU Port Governance 2016” report. The report focuses on certain trends in port industry and is a valuable study for the port sector and EU policy makers.
At the closing policy debate, featuring high-level policy makers from the EU, Henrik Hololei, Director General at the DG MOVE European Commission, stressed the importance of a simplified authorization process when it comes to large infrastructure projects. He said: “ (…), we would like to explore the possibility to set up a single EU authorization framework to replace the many authorization procedures for large projects with cross-border impacts”.
The speaker line-up at the ESPO Conference included several speakers from the Baltic ports, among them: Julian Skelnik, BPO Chairman, who spoke at the panel on maritime transport without barriers. Kimmo Mäki, Managing Director of Port of Helsinki and Johan Röstin, CEO Copenhagen Malmö Port, took part in the session focused on digitalization and big data. Around 20 Baltic ports were represented at the biggest port event in Europe.