On the occasion of the TEN-T days in Riga and at the eve of the Parliament vote on the Juncker plan, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) call on the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to give priority to transport and especially port projects, when assessing investment projects.
Europe’s sea and inland ports have a prominent place in the newly developed TEN-T network: around 550 ports are part of the TEN-T network, more than 100 are recognized as core seaports, while almost 80 are core inland ports. Moreover, seaports are the entry and exit gate to the nine multimodal corridors and many inland ports are strategic multimodal nodes in the hinterland network, linking inland waterways with all other modes of transport.
To fully play their role in Europe’s transport Infrastructure plan, huge investments are needed for port infrastructure and infrastructure linking the ports with the corridors. Out of the 700 projects submitted under the last TEN-T call, 100 concern the port sector.
Different factors explain the need for new and upgraded transport and port infrastructure:
- International freight volumes are expected to grow fourfold by 20501;
- The volumes in ports are more and more clustered as a consequence of the increasing size of vessels: this implies adaptations of port and hinterland infrastructure;
- The conversion to alternative fuels obliging ports to invest in adequate infrastructure;
- Ports are important nodes and suppliers of energy: the changing energy landscape will imply huge investments in and around ports;
- New environmental obligations;
- Finding adequate financing for transport infrastructure becomes more difficult in a context of national budget constraints.
Based on the final reports of the nine corridors, there is already more than 40 billion EUR needed to realize the sea port infrastructure projects only2.
It is clear that the remaining CEF envelope will not be able at all to address the needs identified, certainly not now that the grant envelope has been reduced by 2.2 billion as a result of the transfer to the Juncker plan.
As for the Juncker plan, ESPO and EFIP are concerned that the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) may not take into consideration the important infrastructure investments that the port sector needs. In fact, the EFSI will not follow the TEN-T priorities for funding of transport infrastructure and the prioritisation as defined in the Corridor approach.
For these reasons, ESPO and EFIP ask the Commission, the EIB and the Member States to consider ports as enablers of growth in all economic sectors, when implementing the Juncker plan. Moreover, they ask the Commission, Parliament and Council to consider an increase of the financial envelope reserved for the TEN-T when reviewing the Multiannual Financial Framework.
1. OECD/ITF (2015), ITF Transport Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris/ITF, Paris.
2. This figure is an estimation based on the costs of the different port projects listed in the financial reports of the nine corridors.