Today and yesterday, ESPO held the 10th edition of its annual conference in Varna. The main highlight was a debate on the new ports policy regulation and communication of the European Commission, which were issued last week. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas was present in Varna to introduce the proposals.
Initial reactions from stakeholders demonstrated that the proposed regulation on market access and financial transparency of ports is being received with mixed feelings. This is also the basis of ESPO’s first response.
“On the one hand we recognise the fact that the regulation proposal makes a first important step towards creating greater financial transparency”, said ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “We further appreciate that the proposal recognises the central role of the port authority and confirms, to some extent, its autonomy. At the same time however, the proposal attributes potentially wide-ranging competencies to other authorities and some of the proposed procedures may lead to damaging interference with the commercial freedom of ports, their ability to invest and their administrative responsibilities.”
In the coming weeks, ESPO will conduct an in-depth assessment of the regulation proposal, focusing on the concrete impact it has on the diversity of its membership. ESPO invites Parliament and Council to take due consideration of this assessment during the forthcoming co-decision process.
During the conference, ESPO also presented the second edition of its port performance dashboard, which reports on indicators in the field of market trends, logistics, socio-economic impact, port governance and environmental management.
Next year, ESPO is heading to the Baltic Sea, where the Port of Gothenburg will be hosting the 11th ESPO conference, on 15-16 May.
All presentations given at this year’s conference will be available from the ESPO website as from next week.