PortEconomics followed the high-level Conference on European Ports Policy Review: “Unlocking the Growth Potential” (Brussels, 25-26 September 2012) and reports events, interventions, and all you want to know about the final second Conference day as unfolded:
Day-2: Wednesday 26 September 2012
Workshop on Port Performance and the Horizon 2020: PortEconomics co-directors Thanos Pallis and Theo Notteboom to offer their perspectives on the future of the European port policy, joined by Martijn van Dongen (Head of Business Development, APM Terminals) and Paul Kyprianou (Manager Research and External Relations Department, Grimaldi Lines).
Theo Notteboom (ITMMA-PortEconomics co-director) presented the PPRISM project, that has selected five types of feasible and relevant indicators to measure the overall port performance of the European port sector, and discusses the lessons and challenches of this first attempt towards a more comprehensive apporach of port performance: PPRISM (Port PeRformance Indicators: Selection and Measurement) was a two year project that identified a key list of sustainable, acceptable, relevant and feasible indicators to monitor the overall performance of the EU port system. The achievements of PPRISM can be summarised as follows: PPRISM delivers a shortlist of indicators that form the basis of a future European Port Observatory which will take the form of a Port Sector Performance Dashboard. These indicators contribute to provide insight into the overall performance of the European port system: Environmental indicators: EMS, carbon footprint, waste recycled, water consumption; Socio-economic indicators: employment in FTE; Supply chain performance: maritime connectivity, inland connectivity, quality of customs procedures; Institutional and governance indicators: ownership of Pas, economic objectives of Pas, ivolvement of PA in actions and initiatives that benefit the entire port community, direct provision of operational services’ Market trends and structure: maritime traffic, call size. The Dashboard will not publish or compare the performance of individual ports or terminals, but focus on the performance of the port system as a whole. PPRISM provides a final shortlist of 14 indicators that are relevant and both accepted by port stakeholders and detailed in terms of methods for data collection and analysis. Two main criteria: stakeholder acceptance and implementation feasibility. Only high-high to be implemented. PPRISM delivers essential data for the development of the first version of the Port Performance Dashboard in 2012 which was presented at the ESPO conference. 58 ports participated in a pilot. This represents a big step towards establishing a culture of measuring and reporting port performance in European ports: (a) Baseline & benchmark; transparency; Self improvement; License to operate; and compliance
Thanos Pallis (University of the Aegean-co-director of PortEconomics) discussed the need to indetify reseach challenges and priorities and develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that will help enhancing the performance of the sector and meet the objectives of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020. In his intervantion, Thanos also detailes the directions and the principles that should govern this SRA.
Worskop on port performance & Horizon 2020:
Workshop on Concessions:
A third member of the PortEconomics, associate member Patrick Verhoeven participates under his capacity as Secretary General of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), at a parallel workshop on consessions.
Patrick Verhoeven tweets developments at Workshop on Concessions: “Land contracts (public domain and land lease) are not service concessions. Our conclusion of debate on concessions directive”
Workshop on Public and Private funding for EU ports
St. Ouaki (Head of Unit – European Commission (DG MOVE) opening remarks: There is a new framework for funding and includes the TEN-T revision and the new proposals for regulations, the TEN-T guidelines and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) facility. There is a need for participation of the private sector in the European port industry, and the application of PPPs-concept is a mean towards this end.
F.H. Crevits (Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works): Reviewing the flemish experiences with investments in transport infrastructure, and the role of PPPs, advocates the need for a clear framework, and expects this to be created through the review of the European port policy. Stresses the importance of EU Funding for the European port sector, stating on the example of the funding within the TEN-T framework.
Luc T’Joen, (Principal Auditor – European Court of Auditors): The role of European Court of Auditors is important, there is an added value of the Institution for infrastructure in ports. The Court of Auditors proceeded to the evaluation for the period 2000-2006. The results indentified good projects but also problematic projects, projects that are not related with the port infrastructure. In total they identified 18,1% of the projects to be effective. There are lessons to be learned by this results for (a) managing authorities of the ports b) for the European Commission. The bottom line: “continue investing in ports but spend the money well”.
G. Dunnett (Head of Air & Maritime Division-European Investment Bank): The new framework for the port industry results in a huge demand for money. There is a role to be played by the EIB, there is also need for sharing risks between the European Commission, the EIB and the Member States, and not least projects owners. There is also a need for submitting requests for sound projects.
Cl. Cheng (Managing Director Central Europe – Hutchison Ports Holdings): It is preferable rely more on private sector for infrastructure projects in ports, public investment should be made only in cases that this cannot be avoided. It is important to identify things to do to encourage private investments. There is a role for the European Commission: provide/guarantee the framework, continue soft law approach, concrete requirements and also the terms for public funding, TEN-T funding.
M.Jenne (Executive Director-BNP Paribas Fortiues): We follow closely the Experiences and opportunities for bank financing for ports and terminals. Ports represent a stable and growing market, this means ‘good investment’ cases, but we also need to be allinged with the trends in project finance.
St. Ouaki (Head of Unit – European Commission (DG MOVE) closing remarks: Public funding as well as funding from the private sector will be available, but strings will be attached. Significance and added value of the projects, conformity with the EU policy and targets, rentability of the money, will all be of importance. Priorisation of projects is also vital.
Workshop on Single Market for Port Services
Richard Bird (UK Major Ports Group): There is always the danger of inappropriate rules, which might hamper investments and increase complexity. Improvements have happened due to work over the last 10 years. This is because of the work done collectively with partners. The survey conducted by the European Commission confirmed that users are overall satisfied with the services and the costs of the services. Most ports employe pilots directly as they are key members of the safety system.
Michael Jansen (European Boatmen Association): There is no need to think of changing mooring services at a European level. These services have proven to work, as users receive reasonable service, at reasonable price, so they should not be modified. The profession has adapted as maritime traffic grows, and the number of ships increases. The emphasis (of the EPP) should be on the minimisation of administrative burdens.
Alfons Guinier (ESCA): Towage is a commercial service, the survey was not representative ‘a bad moment’; there is no issue, though some problems exist. We will address that on a local base Pilotage: is essential service. There are some local issues (including language issues). Yet pilotage is not a public service. Safety is too important but should not be abused in order to intervene and regulate pilotage. Finally, the presence of modern technology means that pilotage from the shore could also take place; the question is why not allowing the use of modern technology to avoid bath weather and other difficult conditions. “Where do we want the Commission to go from here? Wish I know”. The Treaty- and the four principles – need to apply; the Commission is the guardian and they need to find the best way to do; I don’t know whether secondary legislation is required.
Patrick Verhoeven tweets: “ECSA wants Commission to act on port services, but not sure whether new legislation is needed for that”.
EMPA member from the audience observes: “Contradiction that for 15 years shipowners stance has not change, when transportation changed. Compulsory pilotage is a link to local conditions and this can be done through clear recommendations (already available by EMPA) and procedures, under certain categories”.
Q&A: Strong resistance by the panel on an intervention on charges; transparency issues are far more welcomed.
Patrick Verhoeven tweets: “Strong message from ports and service providers to Commission not to intervene on port charges”
Patrick Verhoeven tweets: “Eddy Bruyninckx CEO Port of Antwerp: port authorities must be active landlords organising their own rail transport”
Workshop on Single Market for Port Services
H. Ruijters (Head of Unit – European Commission (DG MOVE): Stresses the omportance of the concept and the significance of the new framework that is based on the going TEN-T revision. The work is completed as far as the European Commission concerns regarding the two proposals for regulations; it is now up to the EP to approve
P. Costa (Special Commissioner – Port of Venice): Success of the TEN-T concept will depend on the implementation. MoS: Intra-EU planning and implementation are important but European ports are already more or less connected with each other, dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (connection of EU ports with North-African ports)
“Port Talk”: A debate with the users of the ports
F.S. de Brugiere (SGS): We are not clients of a port we are clients of a shipping line. Stevedoring etc are not our direct problem. The problem for us is the reliability of the port. The congestion is not so much physical. The main congestion is administrative, it is about customs. The latter might take weeks. Administrative burdens although we perform quality tests at the port that we are loading. The third issue are information systems. In some countries they are open to shippers, but in other member states the information system is close to the port. Shippers want to be part of this. Performance of the shipping line is important for life.
M. Van Orbroeck (Volvo): Congestion: fully agree with de Bruiere. Harmonisation, structure documents and procedures that we have to comply with. We have to work on the flexibility of concessions as port users. Our focus is on shor- medium-term and we use indermmediate companies. What is interesting is to develop contracts with the intermediary companies.
L. Airaghi (Group Ferrero): Quality is a must. I will continue on material infrastructure. The difference between South ports and North ports. We are using both, they have both their own problems. But we need to distinguish between ports that can develop or others that have geographical restrictions. Would recommend to cluster different ports that we are operating. Problems due to difficulties to ‘stay in the port’, cargoes need to move out. Congestion for us is to exceed two days from the programmed day of arrival. Synchronisation between customs and sanitary inspections.
W. Jan Beerthuis (Heineken): Short sea can be expensive due to port and related charges.
The ship owners view-F. Peigne (CMA-CGM): We are pragmatic and simple. We look for the best possible services, and the lower charges. Our objective is to offer port-to-port services. So, punctuality, reliability and lower charges are important. Due to the cost of fuel every mile at sea and at shore is important for us. Limitations have to be minimised. When we have to light the vessel because of the limitation of draught in one one port then we have a problem even though this is good news for another port. For the customer this is a negative trend. The issue of formalities is quite important. We need to use website information. For the cargo we think that for Europe we do not need all the additional requirements that are present. We should harmonise them and then reduce the existing formalities. For the lowest cost we need to bear some charges. But they have to be transparent, relevant and negotiable. Towage: in some cases the conditions need to be adopted to the conditions present. Minimum time of port: we have to address the issue. It always lead to productivity improvements. A very good initiative is coming from the Journal of Commerce. They will publish data from several terminals and this is positive. Labour: The cargo will always find its destination. Port closure is always the benefit of the neighbouring port. But we have do discuss and negotiate. Environment: Ports needs to facilitate LNG supply, the new theme is how to fuel the ports, it is worth looing into the practicalities. Collection of residuals is a lot of costs for us and should be reduced.
Patrick Verhoeven tweets on Port users debate: “administrative facilitation, seamless connections with barge and rail and dock labour principal issues”.
Conclusions: Connecting to Compete: Options for the EU Ports’ policy
Matthias Ruete (Director General – European Commission, DG MOVE):
- Logistics in Europe work well (World Bank database). We need however to secure that the European position does not slight down. We were by-passed by Singapore and Hong-Kong in recent years. Let’s ensure that we will reverse this phenomenon.
- It would be wrong to talk about a third port package. Would give wrong indications. A third port package is an illusion.
- This is about a port’s novel. Some of the chapters are already written. Examples are the Chapter of infrastructure that is already written, at least the Commission’s version. Other issues include (a) concessions; (b) security; (c) health and safety at work; (e) Rules on temporary work (f) Blue belt project, resulting in administrative simplification; and (g) e-freight.
- But there are crucial questions: What do we need to do? Do we need to do something? i.e. make the performance better by introducing transparency? Or do we need to separate different elements of it? How do we draw the line between public services and private services?
- The more challenging issue: Labour. A social dialogue is needed. How do we make sure that the protection of workers is ensured? How do we secure that the autonomy of social partners is ensured? We need to secure that skilled labour remains present in European ports.
Patrick Verhoeven tweets and recaps: “DG Move Director-General Ruete wraps up conference: no ‘third ports package’ but a ‘ports novel’ of which many chapters exist”
Patrick Verhoeven provides the final European Ports Policy Review tweet: “Matthias Ruete outlines questions ahead: “transparency, services and dock labour. Specific consultation until 15 November”.
15 November 2012: A deadline for the conclusion of the new consultation round is set.
The European Ports Policy Review Conference is over – the new round of ‘personalised’ consultation on the European Ports Policy Review begins.
PS. The day after: European Commission issues a reasoned opinion addressed to Spain for non-compliance with the EU Treaty of the regime organising the recruitment of port workers (dockers); PortEconomics associate member Patrick Verhoeven tweets: “Whatever outcome of#EUportspolicy, Treaty rules apply: EC finds Spanish labour pools in breach w freedom establishment”.
The PortEconomics Diary of the European Ports Policy Review Conference; contributions by the members of the PortEconomics team Thanos Pallis, Theo Notteboom, Patrick Verhoeven, Michael Dooms; Read the PortEconomics diary of the first Conference day: Day-1