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            december 11, 2018

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Indiaexportnews.com

ESPO pleads for a strong Connecting Europe Facility

  09.03.2018    

This week, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has submitted its contribution to the public consultation in preparation of the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF II) for the financial period 2021-2028. To prepare its submission, ESPO commissioned a study to investigate the future investment needs of European ports, as well as the past ability of ports to benefit from the different EU financial instruments.
In order to live up to their significant role, not only as primary nodes of the transport network, but also in terms of energy transition, attracting industry and logistics and enabling passengers’ connectivity, and being defined as critical infrastructure, ports need to continue to invest into modern, sustainable and well-connected infrastructure.
The study, executed by Dr. Peter de Langen, Dr. Mateu Turró, Martina Fontanet and Jordi Caballé, estimates that European ports face investment needs of around 48 € billion for the period 2018-2027. These needs are mainly caused by external drivers, such as growth in trade flows, new trends in the maritime industry, decarbonisation and other environmental requirements, digitalisation, automation, urban development and security challenges.
This wide range of investment drivers leads to a very diverse range of investment needs. In spite of this diversity, investments in basic infrastructure, maritime access infrastructure and hinterland connections account for more than half of the projects that port managing bodies foresee for the coming 10 years.
Despite the overall recognition of the significant role of ports and of their diverse responsibilities, projects initiated by port authorities only succeeded to attract 4% of the CEF funding so far and only one-third of the submitted projects received funding.
The study results show  that public funding mechanisms remain a very relevant element for port managing bodies, even though innovative financial instruments are to be welcomed.
Based on the results of the study, ESPO pleads for a strong Connecting Europe Facility reflecting the following elements:
°    Grants as an essential component of financing port projects with a high added value but low financial returns;
°    A well-defined and transparent methodology to define EU added value, that goes beyond “cross-border” projects;
°    Responsible grant management, through a more rigorous cost-benefit analysis;
°    A long-term vision on funding priorities allowing the ports to prepare high quality projects;
°    Co-financing to be defined on the basis of the funding gap;
°    The right level of endorsement: smaller port projects which do not involve national or regional funding should not require prior endorsement of the Member State.

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