Today, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) organised a joint seminar on EU Funding for transport projects.
Interest in the seminar was lively, with participants coming from ports and inland ports located on eight TEN-T core network corridors in nine different EU Member States.
The workshop gave sea and inland ports the opportunity to exchange views and expertise with colleague ports located along the same TEN-T core network corridor or with colleagues planning thematically similar projects. The idea behind the seminar is to facilitate the co-operation between sea and inland ports on a given corridor and to help those ports that would like to set up joint infrastructure projects to find suitable partners.
During the morning session, participants discussed the financial instruments that provide support to transport projects, such as the Connecting Europe Facility and the Cohesion Fund with experts from the European Commission and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).
EFIP Director Kathrin Obst said: “Inland ports have a crucial role to play in the new sustainable, multi-modal TEN-T Network. The EU aims to shift road freight over long distances to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail or inland waterways. This shift can only happen if trans-shipment of goods is relatively uncomplicated. This is why inland ports are so important: they ensure the multi-modality of the TEN-T network. Today’s meeting shows that the inland ports are ready to be an active part of the new TEN-T corridor structures and that they are interested in using the new EU funding opportunities.”
Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General said: “Today’s workshop was a first step towards helping our members to participate in this new TEN-T framework and to ensure that our ports are not just a dot on the TEN-T maps. The Commission invited ports today to be proactive in the implementation of the TEN-T. ESPO will work in this direction, ensuring that port projects are included in the corridor plans and receive proper funding and that seaports are integrated in the management of the corridors. Given the interest of our members, other workshops will follow. The recently created ESPO TEN-T project desk will support members in making the most of the opportunities available “.
Also today, ESPO and EFIP launched an inventory of infrastructure projects needed by the core ports and inland ports in the period 2014-2020. The two associations will collect information from members on the infrastructure investment needs of their ports. The idea is to gain an overview of the magnitude and type of projects required, which could provide an orientation for the Commission in the development of the corridor work plans.
In 2013 the European Union revised its cohesion policy and adopted new Guidelines for the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) and an accompanying financial instrument, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). These policies set the new framework for EU funding for transport infrastructure. The TEN-T Guidelines establish nine multi-modal core network corridors, where infrastructure projects are to be implemented as a priority. The new approach requires a stronger coordination between actors along a given corridor, including infrastructure managers from different modes of transport. On 7 January 2014 the Commission published a Communication entitled ‘Building the Transport Core Network: Core Network Corridors and Connecting Europe Facility’, which clarifies the future steps of the implementation of the Core Network.