2020, a year of ordeals…
Dear Members, Friends and Colleagues,
2020 has been a year of ordeals which tested all of us, on all continents and at sea.
Many thanks to all those who contributed to help and support people and businesses to face the COVID 19 crisis. Particular thanks to the EU institutions’ personnel at all levels and to our colleagues from other trade associations, NGOs and the civil servants in the different Member States.
At this moment of the year, our special thoughts are for all those who cannot gather with their beloved and come back home.
To all those who are on duty on roads, on ships, in ports, in hospitals, to all those who will contribute to ensure a safe and secure supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccines, our wishes are first for you.
May the shores we are sailing to in 2021 be healing and calmer.
May 2021 allow us to recover, regain optimism and share good moments with our families, colleagues, and friends.
The ordeals we went through will hopefully enable to appreciate even more the opportunities we shall have to meet, exchange and celebrate in 2021.
Happy holiday Season and a healing 2021 to all!
02.12.2020 – First Stakeholder Meeting NOVIMOVE project
On the 2nd of December, FEPORT Secretariat attended the first stakeholder meeting of the H2020 project NOVIMOVE. NOVIMOVE stands for novel inland waterways transport concepts for moving freight efficiently. The research project aims at increasing the freight potential of the Rhine-Alpine corridor by 30% in the upcoming 10 years.
The consortium working towards this aim consists of technology developers and suppliers, logistics chain stakeholders as well as universities and research institutes. The project will run for four years, from June 2020 up until June 2024.
One of NOVIMOVE’s strategic aims is to better use the capacity of inland fleet and infrastructure in order to increase the reliability and competitiveness of IWT as a transport mode.
One of the work packages will look into innovations for new forms of port and river logistics and some of the project’s objectives relate to reducing time in ports through improved container logistics. For example, the first mobile terminal should be operational in a seaport as a result of the project.
Another way to increase the modal share of IWT cargo is by establishing a new business model for seaport logistics on which logistics stakeholders should reach an agreement by 2026 and become operational in 2028.
02.12.2020 – EMTER Stakeholder Consultation Workshop
On the 2nd of December, European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) held a virtual stakeholder consultation workshop, gathering numerous participants from maritime and environmental administrations, industry associations, civil society organisations and the European Commission.
The workshop gave participants the opportunity to express their views on the first draft of the European Maritime Transport Environmental Report, which is part of a consultation process, and to intervene at a vital stage in the production of this seminal report, where the combined input is expected to enrich the content, help to close data gaps and even possibly to inform policy makers for future decisions.
The workshop was structured around three key sessions: a presentation by both EMSA and the EEA of the draft report and its main findings; a roundtable discussion gathering feedback and thoughts from six panellists representing a wide variety of perspectives and, an open discussion allowing for feedback and input from participants from Member State administrations, industry and civil society.
The written consultation process will run until December the 23rd, 2020. After this process, the European Maritime Transport Environmental Report will be finalised and is then expected to be published in the first half of 2021.
03.12.2020 – FEPORT General Assembly
Standardization, data sharing and use of IoT in the cargo handling industry were an ambition, now they are becoming a reality
These last months, EU supply and logistics chains have been under severe pressure but have been able to ensure the security of supplies of goods and equipment to citizens and hospitals thanks to a mobilization of private port companies and terminals, and their workers. Although COVID-19 has disrupted the normal functioning of companies, the resilience of the cargo handling and logistics related sector has allowed to carry on the implementation of digitalization and the work on standardization.
During their General Assembly meeting held on December 3rd, 2020, FEPORT members re-elected Mr Gunther Bonz as President of FEPORT and thanked him for his continuous engagement towards FEPORT.
The agenda of General Assembly meeting included several important topics. Among others, FEPORT members discussed about Terminal Industry Committee 4.0 (TIC 4.0) and commended the work that has been achieved so far by its members. Standardization and data sharing will be crucial both for the digitalization of the port industry as well as for the decarbonization of the maritime and port ecosystem.
FEPORT is a strong supporter of iTerminals, the EU funded project that will implement the 4th Industrial Revolution concepts - i.e. digitalization, data sharing thanks to standardization and use of IoT - in the Container Port Terminal Industry.
With respect to environmental performance of port terminals, attendees exchanged about the current certifications (ISO 14001, EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and others) that have been obtained by many terminals and agreed to better promote them.
FEPORT is looking forward to the new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and hope that it will support the port industry’s efforts to contribute to the objective of the Green Deal while preserving the jobs of EU workers and allowing the sector to remain competitive.
FEPORT reiterates its call to EU regulators to restore the level playing field within the internal market in terms of taxation. This is as important as the discussion with respect to the effects of public subsidies granted to foreign companies operating in the EU and competing with private EU companies.
“2020 has been a difficult year for all and has definitely shown how essential transport workers are in general and port workers in particular. FEPORT remains committed to the European Sectoral Social Dialogue where important issues regarding the future of the sector are being discussed. However, the support of the EU Commission and the European Parliament will be crucial to make progress on important issues such as the safety of port workers on board of ships, the level playing field within the maritime logistics chain as well as the competitiveness of the sector”, underlined Mr Gunther Bonz, Chairman of FEPORT.
09.12.2020 – Commission presents the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy
On the 9th of December, the European Commission presented its “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy” together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives, which will guide its work for the next four years. This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
For the EU Commission, all transport modes need to become more sustainable, with green alternatives widely available and the right incentives put in place to drive the transition. Concrete milestones (2030, 2035 and 2050) will keep the European transport system's journey towards a smart and sustainable future on track:
- Sustainable: For transport to become sustainable, in practice this means:
- Boosting the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, vessels and aeroplanes, renewable & low-carbon fuelsand related infrastructure - for instance by installing 3 million public charging points by 2030.
- Creating zero-emission airports and ports- for instance through new initiatives to promote sustainable aviation and maritime fuels.
- Making interurban and urban mobility healthy and sustainable- for instance by doubling high-speed rail traffic and developing extra cycling infrastructure over the next 10 years.
- Greening freight transport - for instance by doubling rail freight traffic by 2050.
- Pricing carbon and providing better incentives for users - for instance by pursuing a comprehensive set of measures to deliver fair and efficient pricing across all transport.
- Smart: Innovation and digitalisation will shape how passengers and freight move around in the future if the right conditions are put in place. The strategy foresees:
- Making connected and automated multimodal mobility a reality - for instance by making it possible for passengers to buy tickets for multimodal journeys and freight to seamlessly switch between transport modes.
- Boosting innovation and the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for smarter mobility - for instance by fully supporting the deployment of drones and unmanned aircraft and further actions to build a European Common Mobility Data Space.
- Resilient: Transport has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many businesses in the sector are seeing immense operational and financial difficulties. The Commission therefore commits to:
- Reinforce the Single Market - for instance through reinforcing efforts and investments to complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) by 2030 and support the sector to build back better through increased investments, both public and private, in the modernisation of fleets in all modes.
- Make mobility fair and just for all - for instance by making the new mobility affordable and accessible in all regions and for all passengers including those with reduced mobility and making the sector more attractive for workers.
Step up transport safety and security across all modes - including by bringing the death toll close to zero by 2050.
09.12.2020 – Second meeting of the EMSWe expert subgroup of the HLSG
On the 9th of December, FEPORT Secretariat participated in the second meeting of the EMSWe Expert sub-group, which was organized through two separate morning and afternoon sessions taking place the same day.
The first part of the meeting dealt with the implementation of the Reporting Formalities Directive 2010/65/EU, which remains applicable until the EMSWe Regulation enters in full application by August 2025. The main part of the meeting consisted of updates and discussions regarding the progress of the data and interfaces thematic teams’ expert groups.
In the data thematic team expert group, a year of hard work on part of the Commission, Member States’ experts and trade associations, has resulted in very substantial progress and consensus on most of the dataset’s content.
The Commission should adopt the first Delegated Act establishing this dataset by 15 August 2025. When deciding on the DA’s content, the EMSWe Regulation prescribes that safety concerns should be taken into account, while at the same time, one of the main purposes of the EMSWe Regulation is to reduce administrative burdens.
That safety and reducing administrative complexity can be conflicting demands was again demonstrated during the meeting through discussions regarding the checklist for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers.
Some Member States argued in favour of the deletion of the checklist, as they deemed that the related exchange of information formed a purely B2B process and found that the checklist’s inclusion would lead to lower support for the European Maritime Single Window environment, both by Member States as well as business stakeholders.
Similar to previous meetings, FEPORT reiterated its support for the inclusion of the checklist due to its crucial role in ensuring the safety of port workers when they carry out loading and unloading activities on board of bulk ships. However, at the same time, we understand that other regulatory means to ensure the safety of port workers working on board of ships could be more suitable. Yet, this alternative solution should be proposed and implemented before the checklist is deleted.
10.12.2020 – ELP Webinar “Tomorrow's mobility begins today: How the logistics sector shapes smart and sustainable mobility”
On the 10th of December, just one day after the European Commission’s presentation of its “Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility”, the European Logistics Platform organized a webinar where some ELP members had the opportunity to showcase which green and digital solutions they were already implementing in their day-to-day business. The webinar moreover allowed logistics stakeholders and policymakers to discuss how the new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy could help the transport sector progress and thrive.
The webinar was hosted and opened by MEP Marian Jean Marinescu who represents the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament and also works as EPP Coordinator Transport and Tourism. Marinescu noted that a complex challenge lies ahead as the transport sector needs to cut emissions while maintaining quality and the same levels of connectivity. Measures, he argued, should be based on comprehensive studies which also take into account social aspects and the competitiveness of EU industry, while investments into inland waterways and rail transport are crucial to accomplish the much-needed modal shift.
MEP Marinescu’s opening statement was followed by a presentation of Annika Kroon, Deputy Head of Unit Maritime Transport and Logistics, who gave a presentation of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy published on the 8th of December. She described the strategy as a tool to accomplish the Green Deal target of 90% greenhouse gas emissions reductions from transport by 2050, explaining that the strategy is based on three objectives: making the European transport system more sustainable, smart and resilient.
Besides setting an ambitious target for 2050, the strategy also sets milestone targets for the years 2030, 2035 and 2050, for example: by 2030, inland waterways transport and short sea shipping should increase by 25% and rail freight traffic by 50%. By 2050, rail freight traffic should have tripled, and inland waterways transport and short sea shipping will increase by another 50%.
Samskip, a multimodal logistics company with various subsidiaries across Europe, gave a company presentation underlining that they always aim to minimize the road leg, moving cargo as much as possible by cleaner modes. However, when improving multimodality, regulators should not only focus on constructing new terminals, but also on taking the most out of the existing ones. Finally, Samskip brought across the message that price signals are crucial to promote combined transport and argued in favour of again looking into the revision of the Combined Transport Directive.
Another insightful presentation came from North Sea Port, which explained some of its green solutions that related to the recycling and re-use of CO2, electrification, hydrogen production through connection with windmill parks and improved port planning (in particular by promoting slow steaming).
Finally, RailFreightForward, a coalition that shares a vision to increase the share of rail in freight transport in order to make transport greener and safer, outlined their vision to reach these goals by:
- Improving last-mile connections.
- Increasing the utilization rate of trains to up to 80%.
- Increasing the weekly frequency of rail freight trains, among others by enhanced digital capacity management.
14.12.2020 – TIC 4.0 Plenary Meeting
On the 14th of December 2020, TIC 4.0 (www.TIC.org) held its Annual meeting remotely. The 22 members of the organization had the opportunity to listen to the report about the latest achievements as well as the activities of the operating Committees.
TIC 4.0 CEO, Frank Kho informed the members that contacts have been initiated with DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association), the organization which has been established in 2019 by several of the largest container shipping companies to work on standardisation.
DCSA recognises the need to cooperate with TIC 4.0 and to align the criteria with port terminals. DCSA has released a new publication in mid-October on processes and protocol. Representatives from DCSA and TIC 4.0 have agreed to meet in the coming months.
TIC 4.0’s publication on will be published semantics and protocols first quarter 2021.
15.12.2020 – €200 million for improving EU transport infrastructure
On the 15th of December, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) launched a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for transport funding instrument, which makes €200 million available for projects aiming to build, upgrade and improve European transport infrastructure. The call for proposals supports the projects concerning:
- Infrastructure projects for railways, inland waterways, maritime and inland ports.
- Infrastructure projects for road networks in the case of Member States with no railway network established in their territory or in the case of a Member State, or part thereof, with an isolated network without long-distance rail freight transport.
The budget available under the Cohesion envelope (reserved for applicants from the 15 EU Member States that are eligible for Cohesion Fund support) is €40 million. The budget available under the General envelope (open to applicants from all EU Member States) is €160 million.
The call deadline is on 22 March 2021. More information can be found on the INEA website.
16.12.2020 – ALICE Plenary Meeting
On the 16th of December, FEPORT Secretariat attended ALICE’s plenary meeting. During this meeting, the ALICE European Technology Platform welcomed a number of new members coming from the logistics sector as well as academia.
Moreover, ALICE outlined its ambitions, stating that it aimed to become the main European logistics think tank and knowledge platform and presented its newest employee joining the ALICE Secretariat: Yanying Lee, who will work as ALICE Head of Programmes and Knowledge Management.
ALICE SG provided an overview of the various documents produced and validated in 2020, for example, the roadmap towards the physical internet and the ALICE roadmap to zero emission logistics in 2050. ALICE Secretariat also updated the members regarding its contacts with the European Commission and highlighted its contribution to the preparation of the various Horizon Europe programmes such as the Shift2Rail and Waterborne partnerships and the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.
The European Commission also contributed to the ALICE plenary with a presentation of Philippe Froissard, Acting Head of the Urban & Mobility Systems Unit at DG Research, who presented the role of Freight Transport and Logistics in the Horizon Europe Programme, while Robert Misen, Head of Unit Innovation and Research at DG MOVE, presented the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and discussed how this strategy links to ALICE activities.
Aside from discussions with the European Commission and a presentation of ALICE’s achievements in 2020, ALICE also took the opportunity to present its workplan for 2021 to its members.
17.12.2020 – Council adopts EU long-term budget for 2021-2027
On the 17th of December, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU's multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027. This provides for a long-term budget of €1 074.3 billion for the EU27 in 2018 prices, including the integration of the European Development Fund.
Together with the Next Generation EU recovery instrument of €750 billion, it will allow the EU to provide an unprecedented €1.8 trillion of funding over the coming years to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the EU's long-term priorities across different policy areas. This includes making the EU greener, more digital, more resilient and better fit for the current and forthcoming challenges.
The EU will be spending €132.8 billion in single market, innovation and digital and €377.8 billion on cohesion, resilience and values. These amounts will increase to €143.4 billion and €1 099.7 billion, respectively, with additional funding from the Next Generation EU, including loans to Member States. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will benefit from €18.4 billion. In order to support the digital transition, a new funding programme, Digital Europe, is established to promote the large-scale rollout and uptake of key digital technologies, including state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools. The digital strand of the Connecting Europe Facility will also get a significant boost in funding.
Source: Council of the EU
17.12.2020 – FEPORT commends the EU Commission’s Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy but underlines the need to safeguard the competitiveness of EU port ecosystems through an enabling framework
FEPORT commends the EU Commission’s efforts to propose an ambitious Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy to achieve the objectives of the Green Deal. The newly adopted Strategy is in many ways the adequate response to the challenges that society and businesses are facing.
Overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and restoring growth will require a total mobilization of all actors as well as more resources from public and private economic actors.
Private port companies and terminals have shown their capacity to mobilize during the recent crisis and their willingness to adapt and to innovate. To continue to do so, they call on EU regulators to provide them with legal certainty and a real level playing field.
“COVID-19 has allowed people and policy makers to realize how essential transport workers are. In ports, all port stakeholders have remained mobilized to ensure the security of supplies and to serve EU Economy. The competitiveness of private port companies and terminals also matters. Let us not forget that the EU is not the only continent and that private port companies and terminals are exposed to fierce competition within the internal market and outside the EU.”
FEPORT calls on EU regulators to restore the level playing field within the internal market in terms of taxation. This is as important as the discussion with respect to the effects of public subsidies granted to foreign companies operating in the EU and competing with private EU companies.
“The EU response to the crisis has been and is in many respects impressive and forward looking be it on environment, growth or recovery. Private port companies and terminals appreciate the acknowledgement regarding the role of ports in the smart and sustainable mobility Strategy but clearer indications on how some objectives will be achieved are needed”, commented Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, FEPORT Secretary General.
“Smart, Sustainable, resilient port operations will be even more possible in the future if there is an enabling support to private investments in ports. It is for instance very welcomed that seaport infrastructure and superstructure dedicated to the transhipment of freight between modes of transport are included in the maritime taxonomy criteria, but cargo handling equipment as well as operations should also be”, said FEPORT Secretary General.
FEPORT welcomes that the newly adopted Strategy includes a revision of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation and the TEN-T Regulation. It is indeed crucial that these two Regulations are addressed together given their mutual importance to one another. The COVID-19 crisis has shown that rail freight can be an attractive and a reliable service when capacities are secured. It will be essential to address the issue of capacity management during the impact assessment of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation.
“If the set of rules applying to environmentally friendly modes such as rail become “real incentives” for modal shift, then port operations will also become smarter and more sustainable. FEPORT pleads for a more “business friendly” framework for rail which does not impose cumbersome administrative requirements that discourage private port companies and terminals from investing into rail services”, added FEPORT Secretary General.
“FEPORT members have the ambition to play a real role in favour of the attractiveness and the competitiveness of EU ports but they need legal clarity to achieve this goal. Besides, a needed review of some EU competition rules, a clear governance in terms data sharing will certainly pave the way for the resilience of the port sector and the whole maritime logistics chain. In this respect, FEPORT welcomes the Commission’s intention to propose further actions to build a European Common Mobility Data Space and the principle of technology neutrality”, continued Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid.
“Private port companies’ and terminals’ activities are not ancillary ones. European ports provide more than bunkering facilities or storage capacities. They are solid partners to achieve the objectives of the Green Deal but not only. Private port companies and terminals are innovators, contributors to value chains and investors in equipment, in intermodal solutions, in digitalization and in new jobs. They therefore deserve clear signs of recognition and political support with respect to their competitiveness. We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss about the comprehensive dimension of the EU port ecosystems with the EU Commission’s services”, concluded FEPORT Secretary General.
13.01.2021 Social Affairs Committee – Remote
14.01.2021 Environment, Safety and Security Committee – Remote
28.01.2021 Customs and Logistics Committee – Remote
18.02.2021 Board of Directors – Remote
24.02.2021 Port Policy Committee – Remote
22.04.2021 Board of Directors – TBC
11.05.2021 Social Affairs Committee – TBC
20.05.2021 Port Policy Committee – TBC
25.05.2021 Environment, Safety and Security Committee – TBC
10-11.06.2021 General Assembly – Hamburg TBC
17.06.2021 Customs and Logistics Committee – TBC
23.09.2021 Board of Directors – TBC
28.09.2021 Environment, Safety and Security Committee – TBC
30.09.2021 Port Policy Committee – TBC
13.10.2021 Social Affairs Committee – TBC
21.10.2021 Customs and Logistics Committee – TBC
18.11.2021 Board of Directors – TBC
07.01.2021 ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels
11.01.2021 TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels
14.01.2021 EMPL Committee Meeting – Brussels
14.01.2021 ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels
26.01.2021 FISC Committee Meeting – Brussels
25-26.01.2021 ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels
25.01.2021 14th European Railway Award – Online event
31.05.2021 SSDC Meeting – TBC
16-17.06.2021 European Environmental Ports Conference – TBC
19.11.2021 SSDC Plenary Meeting – TBC