On November 29th, 2018, FEPORT has held the Fourth edition of the Annual Stakeholders’ Conference. We have been delighted to welcome you to discuss whether multimodal connectivity and digital platforms can turn trade into a growth engine.
Our particular warm thanks to the moderators and to the twenty high level speakers from across the global stakeholder network. The speakers were ranging from representatives of different directorates of the European Commission to the World Economic Forum, the World bank and the OECD International Transport Forum as well as well-known institutions and companies. All participants provided differing perspectives on whether multimodal connectivity is a reality and whether the use of digital platforms is providing a competitive edge to the maritime logistics’ actors.
As you may have noticed, we have tried our best to respect our commitment to ”Avoid to be self-centric” (i.e. focus on our industry only) whilst also refraining from being too “EU centric”. We have offered the possibility to know what other countries and regions are doing.
To the question: “Is multimodal physical connectivity essential for the supply and logistics chains”, the answer was unanimously yes. All speakers said that it is essential for the EU to complete the TEN-T network with efficient hinterland connections to unleash the full potential of the different transport modes.
It is also crucial for Member States who have proclaimed their commitment in Paris to fight global warming to avoid thinking in silos when it comes to agreeing on an ambitious review of the Combined Transport Directive.
The same European ambition should also prevail regarding the extension of the TEN-T network to other “roads”, routes etc.. The priority is to maintain and finalize the EU TEN-T network that has been financed by EU tax payers. The completion will play a key role to boost trade, increase EU exports, and allow supply chains to be competitive. If other networks were to be connected, then a real EU coordinated vision should prevail instead of a fragmented one.
To the question: “Is trade dependent on good digital platforms?”, the answer was yes. But clouds are in the horizon. Some countries are closing their markets at the very moment that technical innovations are offering a tremendous potential for Trade to grow. IoT, 3 D printing, Blockchain as well as Artificial Intelligence are going introduce change which will disrupt the status quo and enable early movers to take the advantage.
Business needs to be agile to be competitive. A lot is done by companies in the area of digital platforms. Business is ready to connect. Interoperability is a utopia but we need regulators to clarify rules of governance in terms of data sharing and data ownership to avoid locked in systems that would compromise fair competition. B2A communication raises high expectations. Business hopes that the promise of systems of systems connecting at local and national levels will not remain promises…
Speakers of the last panel of the conference delivered essential messages too: Fair trade means fair rules and a harmonization of the competition rules. It is difficult to compete within a country or with other countries without a level playing field.
This is valid for all sectors of the logistics chain which do not have access to the same incentives/instruments nor benefit from the same support form policy makers. When it comes to a level playing field with other regions of the world, it is quite clear that regulators must talk to each other to harmonize State Aid, cartel rules and other screening mechanisms.
Please do not hesitate to visit the conference web page in case you want to have access to the report of the conference or the speakers’ presentations and speeches. We look forward to welcoming you for the fifth edition of the Annual Stakeholders’ Conference to be held on November 28th, 2019.
The FEPORT Secretariat wish you all and your families a happy holiday season and all the best for 2019.
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