FEPORT welcomes the Green Deal for Europe
and its potential to mainstream sustainability into all EU policies
As promised in her political Guidelines, Commission President von der Leyen presented her Green Deal for Europe on December 11th, 2019. The Communication sets very ambitious objectives for the EU and sends a strong message to the rest of the world regarding Europe’s intention to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and to transform its economy to become wholly carbon-neutral by 2050.
FEPORT members, who ensure that all cargoes carried by sea continue their journey to the consumers once they reach European ports, are committed since many years to reduce their emissions. They are investing millions of Euros in green equipment, innovative processes and digitalization and joining forces with other actors of the logistics chain (combined transport, inland waterways, road hauliers etc.) to reduce the emissions’ footprint of intermodal operations.
FEPORT members will pursue their efforts to the benefit of all port neighbouring populations as well as port users and other service providers. They welcome the Green Deal’s proposed initiatives on digital and smart logistics and all actions aiming at boosting multimodality and shaping environmental and climate standards that apply across value chains.
European Private Port Companies and Terminals believe that the Green Deal can be an opportunity for Europe, particularly if, as mentioned in the Communication, sustainability is mainstreamed in all EU policies including competition.
In this respect, FEPORT welcomes the announcement regarding the evaluation of the relevant State aid guidelines including the environmental and energy State aid guidelines. Consistency between the objectives of the Green Deal and future competition instruments regarding State Aid, Cartels and Mergers will also be crucial to support EU industries’ competitiveness and ensure a level playing field.
The success of the Green Deal will also be dependent on the financial instruments that will be mobilized to support innovation and the implementation of the proposed actions, for instance in ports. Among others, the role of the EIB will be essential and FEPORT members are looking forward to knowing more about the “renewed sustainable finance strategy”.
Another factor determining the Green Deal’s success will be the EU’s ability to play a leadership role in convincing non-EU countries to engage in the same direction to avoid any status quo that would be detrimental to the environment and the planet. It is therefore a good signal that the Commission seeks to enhance its “green deal diplomacy” and aims at convincing other countries to promote sustainable development as well.
It will also be crucial for the EU to ensure that the Green Deal enables EU industries to gain more competitiveness while becoming more sustainable. In this regard, FEPORT members welcome that the Green Deal is referred to as a “new growth strategy” and that the importance for the EU to maintain its competitive advantage will remain a key priority.
FEPORT and its members will proceed to a thorough analysis of the Green Deal proposed actions and will provide more detailed comments and constructive suggestions in the coming weeks and months.
27.11.2019 – FEPORT 25th Anniversary – Brussels
FEPORT members have celebrated the 25th anniversary of their organization together with colleagues from sister organizations and guests from different European institutions, international organizations and corporations.
Thank you to all for sharing this special moment with us!
Thank you for your participation to
FEPORT Fifth Annual Stakeholders’ Conference
Dear speakers, Dear guests, Dear colleagues,
It has been a pleasure to welcome you last week for the Fifth edition of our Annual Stakeholders’ Conference.
Many thanks to all speakers for their time, for sharing their thoughts and debating with such energy and openness. We are grateful to our moderators for their enthusiasm and for supporting our efforts to be inclusive and empathize with our sister organisations' challenges.
As we heard from Mr Marc Lachièze-Rey, a Big Bang is neither a disaster nor an end, but may be a special moment where different parts of matter and energy aggregate to form a new structure… Is this what we need from our policy makers for our maritime sector?
When we decided to dedicate a session of FEPORT’s Conference to shipbuilding, few people expressed their surprise as our organization is not representing shipyards but private port companies and seaport terminals. Our answer is that we believe in the “coalition of the willing” to collectively raise awareness about the strategic importance of the maritime cluster.
We also believe that, in the “EU shipbuilding case study”, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt by all the actors of the maritime cluster, but also by policy makers when elaborating future proposals and policies.
Our colleagues from the EU shipyards have gone through difficult times when, in 1998, upon proposal of the European Commission, the EU Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 1540/98 establishing new rules on aid to shipbuilding and prohibiting operating aid for EU shipyards. This happened in a context where there was no efficient “international police to avoid subsidy race among third countries’ shipyards” and led to the situation we know today.
It is really a pity for the EU that containerships are essentially built in Asia. But what is worse is to accept it as a “fact of life” or claim that those ships are not, in terms of technology or added value, interesting for EU shipyards.
Multilateral instruments have proven to be challenging for EU shipbuilding because of the complexity of filing a complaint in the framework of the WTO. Hence, it is important for the EU to think about other tools.
While, after listening to the representatives of DG Grow and DG Comp, we better understood the rationale that motivated the decision of the European Commission in the late 1990's with respect to sectoral State Aid rules, we probably still think that EU support to the competitiveness of the maritime sector should not be based on an “either, or” principle, but should be inclusive and benefit many industries.
Do we need to support EU shipping? The answer is yes! Do we need to support EU port stakeholders? The answer is also yes! Do we need to support EU shipyards and marine equipment manufacturers? Same answer: yes! Do we need to support EU dredging? Of course yes!
We could continue to list all sectors that constitute the maritime cluster, but our message might be clear enough.
Session 2 allowed us to understand that slowbalization might not be the solution to reduce emissions and face the climate crisis.
These 10 last years, Member States’ as well as the EU’s support to Research and Innovation in the area of alternative fuels has not been significant enough. Similarly, early movers did not get the necessary legal certainty or security to continue to invest in innovative solutions and precompetitive research. We hope that the new partnership with the Waterborne Technology Platform marks a new era for the maritime sector.
Maritime industries believe that the Green Deal can be an opportunity if it is thought and elaborated with them and not without or against them.
Port stakeholders are mobilized to support the reduction of emissions during ships’ calls but as mentioned by Pino Musolino and Gerald Hirt “one swallow does not make Spring”. Cooperation, data sharing, data analytics in shipping and ports as well as joint initiatives will be crucial to succeed. Port stakeholders cannot face alone the pressure of cities complaining about shipping emissions.
The title of the last session of the day was a bit provocative but also reflecting current fears that we all have to be replaced one day by an artificial intelligence which does not need to eat, sleep or take vacation.
Artificial intelligence is already in the place and robots will certainly ensure some tasks that are done today by human beings, but does this mean that human creativity will not be needed anymore? Shouldn’t we collectively think about the reskilling, conversion, job mobility and other solutions? Industries will have to make a huge effort to reskill and upskill and the battle can be won only if employers and employees join forces.
You can have access to the extensive version of the conference report, to the presentations and pictures on the webpage of the conference.
We look forward to seeing you next year!
We wish you and your families a joyful holiday season and a happy new year.
With kind regards,
03.12.2019 – EU Forum for the protection of public spaces – Brussels
Tuesday the 3rd of December, FEPORT Secretariat attended the EU Forum for the Protection of Public Spaces, in short known as the EU Operators Forum. This forum focuses on the protection of public spaces against terrorist threats. This forum’s participants consist of Member States’ representatives, associations involved in the operation of public spaces (e.g. public transport, shopping malls, concerts, etc.) and private security actors.
The term “public spaces” mostly refers to places where large groups of people gather, which means that also cruise terminals can be possibly implicated. FEPORT therefore attends the meetings of this forum to be aware of security measures potentially affecting the cruise industry.
06.12.2019 – EMSWe Data Thematic Team Expert Group Meeting – Brussels
Friday the 6th of December, FEPORT Secretariat attended the first meeting of the Data thematic team of the Single Window (EMSWe) Expert Group. The EMSWe regulation, which already entered into force last summer, aims to establish harmonised rules for the provision of information during port calls, by ensuring that the same dataset is used for the reporting to the different National Single Windows.
To establish this dataset, the Commission is drafting a Delegated Regulation, to be concluded by August 2021, which will contain a list of data elements stemming from the reporting obligations spelled out in the EMSWe regulation. The EMSWe data team is mandated to advise the European Commission on the content of the dataset. DG MOVE, EMSA and DG TAXUD participate in the data team meetings on a permanent basis and also Member States are represented. Industry associations can be invited as observers.
This first meeting was of a rather introductory nature and discussed topics such as the exact mandate of the data team and the principles that will be used to compile the EMSWe dataset.
12.12.2019 – Communication on the European Green Deal – Brussels
Wednesday the 11th of December, the European Commission issued its long-awaited European Green Deal Communication.
The European Green Deal aims to reach the goal of a climate neutral EU economy by 2050, aiming for at least a 50% emission reduction by 2030 as a first step. This is not just a political pledge. By March 2020, the European Commission will propose the first European Climate Law, which will enshrine the 2050 EU Climate neutrality objective into law.
The Commission wants to decarbonise while retaining the EU industry’s competitiveness. The Commission also wants to prevent “carbon leakage”. Carbon leakage refers to a situation where the EU meets its climate targets, but environmentally damaging production moves abroad, meaning that on a global scale no emissions are reduced. The Commission seeks to mitigate this risk with a carbon border adjustment mechanism, an increase of the price of imports with a high carbon content.
In some parts of the Communication, the port sector is mentioned directly. The Commission for example seeks to oblige ships to use shore-side electricity and considers regulating the access of the most polluting ships to EU ports. Moreover, in a view to speed up the deployment of zero and low emission vessels, the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive and the TEN-T regulation will be reviewed.
Other parts underline the importance of multimodal transport; a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried by road should shift to rail and the Commission will consider withdrawing and presenting a new proposal to revise the Combined Transport Directive.
Also shipping will be affected by the European Green Deal. Mention is made of extending the Emissions Trading System to the maritime sector. Moreover, the Energy Taxation Directive is planned to be revised and, in that context, the current tax exemption for maritime fuels will be scrutinised.
Finally, concerning State aid, it is mentioned that a revision of State aid guidelines, including the environmental and energy State aid guidelines, will be carried out.
12.12.2019 – ALICE Plenary Meeting – Brussels
Thursday the 12th of December, various companies as well as associations from the logistics sector gathered for a full day ALICE plenary session.
During the meeting, ALICE preparations for the 2021-2027 Horizon Europe programmes were discussed and ALICE’s Work Plan & Budget were approved. As the activities of the ALICE ETP are gradually expanding, ALICE Secretariat proposed a gradual membership fee increase starting as of 2020, which was accepted by the members.
Other topics discussed included the work of the ALICE thematic groups for 2020-2021. For example, During the Corridors, Hubs and Synchromodality session¸ ALICE’s plans to organize a “Collaborative Innovation Day” on ports of the future were unveiled.
The plenary session also offered plenty of space to the Commission services to contribute to the discussions, especially concerning the efforts to reduce emissions in logistics’ supply chains. In this regard, the ALICE plenary session could not have been timed better because the previous day, the 11th of December, the Commission released its European Green Deal Communication. Deputy Head of the Maritime Transport & Logistics unit at DG MOVE Annika Kroon noted that especially in the transport sector environmental action is needed, because it is one of the only sectors where emissions have actually been increasing. She pointed out that the Green Deal seeks to decarbonize transport by enhancing alternative fuel infrastructure and uptake, by introducing pricing mechanisms ensuring that the price of transport reflects the impact it has on the environment and health, and by promoting multimodal transport solutions.
Another agenda item that was perfectly timed given the release of the Green Deal Communication one day ago, was the launch of the ALICE Roadmap Towards Zero Emissions Logistics 2050. This roadmap also acknowledges that Freight emissions are still increasing. On the short-term, the roadmap sets out how to find new opportunities for efficiency gains in freight transport and logistics e.g. by better managing the available infrastructure. On the long-term, the ALICE Roadmap sets a vision for zero emissions in logistics by 2050.
12.12.2019 – Fitness Check of the Water Framework Directive
The results of the fitness check of the water legislation, among others concerning the Water Framework Directive and the floods directive, have been published on the 12th of December.
The fitness check, which was launched in October 2017, concludes that the Water Framework Directive is overall fit for purpose. It does note, however, that there is room for improving effectiveness.
The evaluation considers that Member States have insufficiently implemented the Directives and the same goes for sectors such as energy and transport. It has also been difficult to reach the Water Framework Directive’s objectives due to insufficient funding. Yet, the fitness check does not seem to open the door for a revision of the directive implying that it is the implementation and the funding, not the legislation itself that is falling short.
16.12.2019 – Global Maritime Logistics Forum – Brussels
On December 16th, 2019, upon invitation from ITF OECD, FEPORT representatives joined a group of colleagues from other organizations and corporations for a meeting of the Maritime Logistics Dialogue to discuss key performance indicators and areas of improvements for data sharing and communication between the different segments of the chain.
After a few hours of collective brainstorming, the participants identified some key indicators and will resume their work beginning of 2020.
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