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EFIP Winter Newsletter

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EFIP Winter Newsletter

December 2019

The last six months have proven to be a time of great change. On the political front, we have seen a new European Parliament getting its bearings while at the same time the new Commission has taken shape. During this period, a spectre continued to haunt Europe: the spectre of Brexit was never far-away, leading to added uncertainty.

This period of change offered the opportunity to introduce the inland waterway sector and inland ports to these new policy makers. Not only did we have the EFIP Anniversary, about which more below, but EFIP also co-hosted the Green Inland Shipping event in Brussels, where we were able to show off the potential of low-emission and zero-emissions inland waterway transport.

Aside from all these top line political developments, the in-depth detailed policy making process continued. This included various consultations on TEN-T and competition issues, setting out the priorities for the next NAIADES programme and thinking about the further digitalisation of inland ports and inland waterways. This process is expected to ramp up in 2020 with the flagship project of the new Commission, the European Green Deal.

From EFIP, we can start looking forward to exciting events in the new year such as our General Assembly meeting in Galati on 2-3 April, where we will be discussing the multimodal challenges facing inland ports in ensuring their rail and inland waterway connections. We are also planning an innovation-focused event, which will prove to be something different than what we have done in the past.

European Commission and the Green Deal

On the first of December, the von der Leyen Commission was installed after a one-month delay, caused by the rejection of three commissioner-designates and the subsequent acceptance of Commissioners Breton (FR), Várhelyi (HU) and Vălean (RO). Commissioner for Transport Vălean performed adequately at her hearing in the eyes of MEPS, but was found non-committal in answering certain questions, demonstrating that her knowledge of the sector is still developing. Nonetheless, the feeling in Brussels is that she will be a good fit for the position as she has extensive political experience, including in the European Parliament given her previous roles as Chair of ENVI and ITRE Committees. This level of experience should serve her well in bringing many of the transport files to conclusion.

Despite all this, the new Commission was still in an odd position. As Brexit drags on, the UK had yet to appoint a candidate. The Johnson government had said it would not propose anyone until after the election (12 December). As a result, the Commission, not wanting work to be halted, launched an infringement procedure against the UK for violating the European treaties. With the victory of Boris Johnson, it is not expected that the UK will propose any Commissioner and the infringement will likely become void with the acceptance of the Brexit deal.

Just last week, the Commission presented its much-anticipated Green Deal. It outlined new ambitions and initiatives for reaching full carbon neutrality by 2050. It includes giving a new impetus to achieving the modal shift, increasing the uptake of alternative fuels and the levelling of intermodal competition, matching the priorities outlined in the EFIP Strategy earlier this year.

However, the Green Deal consists of many pre-existing and ongoing initiatives, which has led some commentators to question whether the programme is as ambitious as the Commission would have us believe. EFIP thus looks forward to the new year with anticipation, to find out if the details reflect the ambition.

25th Anniversary Recap

On 23 October 2019, EFIP members gathered in Strasbourg (France) for their annual Executive Committee meeting and to celebrate EFIP’s 25th anniversary. A reception in the Salle des Fêtes of the Palais du Rhin in Strasbourg was organised to mark the occasion, hosted by the Port of Strasbourg and the CCNR (Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine). The event attracted more than 90 guests from all over Europe, including representatives of the European Institutions, Member States and River Commissions, Port Directors, and other transport stakeholders.

(c) Valentine Poulain, photographe

This allowed EFIP not only to celebrate, but also consolidate inland ports’ role as “enablers of green logistics” in Europe – leitmotif emphasised by the main speakers, EPP Transport Coordinator Marian-Jean Marinescu, TEN-T Coordinator Pawel Wojciechowski and EFIP President Friedrich Lehr.

(c) Valentine Poulain, photographe

During the evening, Port of Strasbourg President Catherine Trautmann further underlined the collaborative element of inland ports’ work, particularly in reference to cross-border cooperation between inland ports. This theme prefaced the second day of the event, as a joint port visit was organised by the Port of Strasbourg and the Port of Kehl. These two ports work closely together to maximise IWT trade flows and provide clients with logistics solutions. This was a fitting end to the conference and metaphor for our work: for 25 years, EFIP has been the place where inland ports have cooperated and grown together.

Advisory Committee Launched

Before the summer, EFIP adopted its new Strategy, setting out a long-term vision for inland ports as “enablers of green logistics” across Europe. Essential in achieving this is the need to channel EFIP’s expertise in a coherent and targeted way. To assist with this, we created three Advisory Committees. These Committees gather the expertise of all our members on specific topics to shape EFIP’s positions.

Infrastructure and Investment Committee

The I&I Committee focuses on topics related to funding, infrastructure development, TEN-T and state aid. In the last few months, the Committee has already met on several occasions and prepared positions on the following topics:

  • TEN-T Consultation
  • State-Aid Modernisation package
  • GBER Extension

Digital and Innovation Committee

The D&I Committee addresses issues regarding new innovations, digital systems, paperless transport and related legislation. The Committee has met twice so far on the following topics:

  • Digital Inland Waterways Tools
  • River Information Systems Consultation

Environment and Sustainability Committee

The E&S Committee was launched to discuss issues linked with environmental questions, climate change adaptation, emission reduction and the greening of logistics. The Committee has already discussed:

  • The Internalisation of External Costs study
  • First steps on the European Green Deal


The European Federation of Inland Ports welcomes the Green Deal for Europe

Yesterday, Commission President von der Leyen presented her long-awaited Green Deal for Europe. It aims to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030 with the European economy being wholly carbon-neutral by 2050. Given this ambitious objective, the Green Deal will touch all parts of the European economy and society.
12 December 2019 | Read more

Over half of all goods traffic between North Sea Port and hinterland travels by inland waterway shipping

For the first time after the merger on 1 January 2018, North Sea Port conducted a study in 2019 (based on figures from 2018) to analyse the percentage of goods that are transported to the hinterland via inland waterway shipping.
02 December 2019 | Read more

Port – Rail connectivity must be strengthened in EU policy

Over the last year, experts from both sea and inland ports have been assessing the European railway legislation from a port perspective. This has resulted in a position paper adopted by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP).
06 November 2019 | Read more

Publication: “EFIP – The Unique Voice of Inland Ports in Europe”

Read below our publication “EFIP – The Unique Voice of Inland Ports in Europe”.
21 October 2019 | Read more

Port Highlight: Port of Strasbourg

EFIP is celebrating this year its 25th Anniversary, which will take place on 23 October in Strasbourg. We thought it would be interesting to highlight cross-European cooperation of inland ports in this special edition of our port highlight.
18 October 2019 | Read more

Green Inland Shipping event 16 October 2019 showed the most innovative solutions in inland navigation at the CO2 neutral Port of Brussels

Five very innovative vessels called at the port of Brussels to show technological solutions to cut CO2 and air emissions to a minimum to European decision makers and stakeholders during the Green Inland Shipping event, which took place on 16 October 2019. The event was co-organised by EFIP. The five vessels included zero-emission technologies such as battery-electric, gas-electric, ultra clean biofuel drivetrains and hydrogen.
17 October 2019 | Read more

EFIP Strategy Paper

Read below the EFIP Strategy Paper.
25 June 2019 | Read more

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