ESPO welcomes the European Parliament's recognition of the strategic role and cross-border dimension of Europe's Ports

News from Brussels

Source: ESPO, 2021-04-28

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the adoption of the own-initiative (INI) report of TRAN-Committee Chair, Karima Delli, on technical and operational measures for more efficient and cleaner maritime transport by the European Parliament. The report was adopted with 453 votes in favour, 92 against, and 154 abstentions. 

The final text adopted in the European Parliament plenary contains many of the key strong points which are supported by ESPO:

  • The recognition of the strategic role of ports as hubs of transport, energy industry and blue economy;

  • The recognition of the cross-border dimension of maritime ports;

  • Support for bottom-up initiatives for zero-emission ports;

  • The need for a revised concept of Motorways of the Sea;

  • Acknowledgment of the role of ports in the review of TEN-T;

  • Support for a modal shift towards short-sea shipping;

  • A push for sufficient funding to both deliver the greening agenda and ensure the multimodal connectivity of Europe’s seaports.


“Even if some outstanding issues were discussed up until right before the adoption of this own-initiative report, it is good to see that all points related to the essential and holistic role of ports, the importance of ports in the review of the TEN-T and the need to review the Motorways of the Sea concept, gained cross-party support. We are very grateful to the rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs for their understanding of the ports’ sector and their strong proposals in that context,” comments ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

The inclusion of maritime in the EU emission trading system and the role of LNG were the main discussion points in preparation of the plenary vote.

ESPO welcomes the ambitious wording on the inclusion of maritime in EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS). To deliver its goal, the revenues generated by the inclusion of maritime in the EU ETS must go towards the investments needed to decarbonise the maritime sector. This means that a substantial part of these revenues should be earmarked and go to the dedicated investments in alternative fuels infrastructure in European ports.

Secondly, the Commission must consider and sufficiently address the interconnected issues of carbon leakage and negative competitiveness effects associated with such a regional measure. The competitiveness of European ports and the maritime sector in Europe must be safeguarded by ensuring a level playing field in a global sector, and by accounting for exposed ports in the forthcoming ETS proposal. To be effective, a maritime EU ETS must look at preventing and minimising avoidance of the EU ETS regime by shipping companies calling at European ports.

As concerns LNG, ESPO welcomes the recognition of LNG as an available transitional fuel that can help improve air quality, and the need for LNG infrastructure for a gradual transition towards zero-emission alternatives in the maritime sector.

“This report shows the importance of the maritime and port sector and sheds a first light on the many challenges – and the opportunities – the sector will be facing on its journey towards reaching the Green Deal ambitions. ESPO and its members want to thank the rapporteur, shadows and all MEPs having worked on this report and are fully committed to continuing the constructive dialogue with the Parliament, the Commission and the Member States once concrete proposals are on the table,” added Isabelle Ryckbost.

The final European Parliament report can be found here

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