Investments in ports
As private port operators commit themselves in capital intensive and long-term binding port investments, they expect from policy makers to create a business-friendly framework with stable rules and foreseeable effects.
Harmonized implementation is also crucial and constitutes the backbone of the certainty that private investors need to commit over the long term.
When planning future investments in the transport sector, Public Authorities should focus on cross-border projects, missing links, and bottlenecks, thus ensuring enhanced connection between ports and the hinterland.
A good business climate can produce great effects, but the opposite is also true.
Various or diverging interpretations of legislation in different member States have detrimental effects on the business climate. Private investments may be postponed or cancelled.
As private port operators compete and commit themselves in capital intensive and long-term binding port investments, they expect the EU and national policy makers to create a business-friendly framework with stable rules and foreseeable effects.
Harmonized implementation is also crucial and constitute the backbone of the certainty that private investors need to commit over the long term. The EU and national policy makers have to create a business-friendly framework with stable rules and healthy governance guidelines.
Commercial activities in ports are the primary tasks of private actors. In order to avoid distortion of competition, attention must be paid when commercial activities are performed by public entities, for instance port authorities.
Port authorities can play a significant role as “business facilitators” in ports by avoiding the inclusion of too prescriptive contractual provisions in land lease contracts and by establishing a sustainable dialogue with private investors in ports.
Terminal operators should be in the “driver’s seat” when deciding upon their business models and commercial strategies.
The decision, for instance, to automate a terminal is a strategic commercial choice for a private company which mobilizes large amounts of financial resources and reorganizes the labour force. It should not therefore be imposed by the public landlord port authority.
It is also of fundamental importance for competition authorities to attentively scrutinize public investments to prevent unfair competition between private companies and public entities and the subsequent risks of cannibalization.
Private port operators should also be systematically and properly consulted before planning investments in additional port capacities.
Along these consultations, needs must be assessed in order to prevent the allocation of public resources to projects that do not correspond to market demands. Future investments should focus on cross-border projects, connecting missing links, and eliminating bottlenecks.
Infrastructure for the movement of goods and people as well as for data are a prerequisite for Europe’s success in the world.
Therefore, when planning investments, policy makers should always endeavour to ensure a good balance between environmental goals and economic needs.
When it comes to connecting the TEN-T network to other networks, it is essential to look for the added value and consistency for European ports and their connectivity to the hinterland.
Compliance with legislation in granting infrastructure developments should not generate unnecessary delays and uncertainties; planning and permitting processes must be as lean and efficient as possible. Policy instruments such as the Water Framework Directive, which have been in place for almost 20 years, have to be thoroughly reviewed and modernized.
For the EU transport policy, the reduction of transport’s negative impact remains one of the main goals. With the Paris Agreement, the transition to a modern and low-carbon economy will need to accelerate.
Terminal operators are investing in intermodal solutions and reiterate their call to regulators to further develop combined transport, directly incentivising the shift from road freight to lower emission transport modes such as inland waterways, maritime and rail.
FEPORT and its members see a great potential in intermodal transport and in its means to optimize the performance of multimodal logistic chains by promoting the use of the most efficient transport mode.
By unleashing its potential, combined transport could really become a viable alternative to road transport, thus avoiding many problems such as environment, road safety and congestion.