Strategic importance of ports outlined in ESPO memo

strategic importance of ports
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The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has issued a memorandum emphasising the role of port authorities in promoting sustainability and competitiveness.

The memorandum was released at ESPO’s annual conference in Livorno, Italy yesterday, the first day of the European elections; with the goal of highlighting the strategic importance of ports in anticipation of policy forming by the new European Commission. It sets out 10 overarching priorities for the ports industry to adhere to between 2019 and 2024, including ongoing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserving an environment which fosters open trade.

Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO, said: “The memorandum explains how ports can contribute to Europe’s competitiveness. It’s more than just a shopping list of what Europe needs to do or not for European ports. European ports are the entry gates for trade, are at the crossroads of supply chains and are hotspots of energy, industry, innovation and digitalisation. We believe that European ports are a strategic partner in achieving Europe’s goals in terms of digitalisation and decarbonisation.”

The memorandum notes that ESPO welcomes open dialogue with the European Commission and looks forward to working alongside the Commission, the European Parliament and the national authorities of Member States to continue forming progressive, sustainable policies on ports management. ESPO draws particular attention to the need for coherent, co-ordinated policy forming between the transport, environmental, maritime and business sectors; as well as the importance of better port industry regulation.

ESPO Chairman Eamonn O’Reilly said: “For us, the days of the port authority simply acting as a superintendent are gone. Ports must engage with port-based industries and operators to influence and assist in the enormous changes that will come about: climate change, sustainability, digitalisation and the volatile global trade and geopolitical environment. We are very supportive of any policy that allows ports to further develop and contribute to responding to today’s challenges.”


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