Seventh Annual Stakeholders’ Conference
Dear speakers, Dear guests, Dear colleagues,
It has been a pleasure to welcome you for the seventh edition of our Annual Stakeholders’ Conference.
Our warmest thanks to all speakers for their time, for sharing their thoughts and providing us with valuable insights.
Thank you to the representatives of our sister organizations and guests for their attendance and to Jaap Gebraad and Conor Feighan who moderated with real talent the two sessions of the conference.
It has been a great opportunity to cooperate with TIC 4.0 and Waterborne Technology Platform to conceive the programme of the conference and to benefit from their sponsorship of the lunch and dinner cocktails offered to our guests.
This year’s conference was about competitiveness in a world of perma-crises. Crises would likely be recurrent and recent events had put a lot of pressure on companies and societies as a whole. Challenges could not be faced individually and the key was better cooperation. Adaptation would also be required with regard to being ready to face consecutive crises. Competitiveness also meant that innovation must be sped up. The critical role of transport and logistics had been highlighted recently and tribute has been paid to employees in the transport sector.
A key point that emerged from the conference was the need for the European transport sector to incorporate a scenario of being faced with continual crises into its planning process. While there was widespread support for the goals of the green transition and the fit for 55 package, calls were also heard to ensure that measures taken to achieve these goals were not to the detriment of the competitiveness of European industry.
Moreover, the importance of continued investment in transport infrastructure was underlined, such as through the expansion of the TEN-T network, with some guest speakers also highlighting the need to make jobs in the industry more attractive to young people.
Among other key takeaways with respect to developments in the market such as vertical integration and consolidation, a strong message calling for regulators to assess that existing pieces of legislation do not distort competition within the maritime logistics chain was conveyed. Moreover, it was mentioned that regulators should intervene when disruptions occur in the market particularly when those are due to a lack of proper enforcement or bad practices from some actors at the expense of the good functioning of the transport and logistics chain.
Finally, a significant number of panellists stressed the importance of collaboration in the area of data sharing and cooperation between all stakeholders if European industry was to continue to be a global leader in an era of ‘perma-crises’.
You can have access here below 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,
Barbara Schretter, Director General of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria, welcomed participants to the seventh annual stakeholders’ conference. The last time this event was held in person was in December 2019. Only a few weeks later, an unexpected crisis was seen in the form of the pandemic which disrupted supply chains. Today’s question was how to protect the EU’s transport sector in a world of perma-crises. There was also a climate crisis at play, in addition problems stemming from inflation and the war in Ukraine, for example. It was more important than ever to join forces to find sustainable solutions. Globalised markets and just in time manufacturing had worked in the past. However, geopolitical risks and economic dependencies needed to be increasingly considered with regard to previous models used.
In September, the 30th anniversary of the Rhine-Main-Danube link was celebrated which had opened up trade in the region. This had taken around 535,000 truck routes off the road and this showed that ports were an environmentally friendly alternative and contributed to achieving climate targets. She wished all a fruitful discussion.
Gunther Bonz, Feport President, thanked the Bavarian Representation for allowing Feport to hold the conference on their premises. He underlined the importance of focussing on various fields, such as the economy and the environment. The conference today would seek to provide insight into different areas. Due to the Covid pandemic, there had been a disruption to supply chains and European industry had been heavily affected. Some industrial plants had had to close as they did not have enough parts, for example.
Supply chain issues were still dependent on what was happening in China regarding complete lockdowns as part of their zero Covid strategy. Though this approach was wrong, as had been admitted by some senior Chinese officials. He hoped they would soon change course, however, and that supply chains would function better next year. Finally, he stressed the importance of meeting in person and again thanked the Bavarian Representation.
Lamia Kerdjoudj, Secretary General, Feport, extended a warm welcome to guest speakers who had accepted to attend today. This year’s conference was about competitiveness in a world of perma-crises. Crises would likely be recurrent and recent events had put a lot of pressure on companies and societies as a whole. Challenges could not be faced individually and the key was better cooperation. Adaptation would also be required with regard to being ready to face consecutive crises. Competitiveness also meant that innovation must be sped up. The critical role of transport and logistics had been highlighted recently and she paid tribute to employees in the transport sector. Ms Kerdjoudj thanked the moderators for agreeing to moderate the sessions before giving the floor to the Commissioner.
Adina Valean, Transport Commissioner, said that FEPORT conference was a great forum for exchanging ideas and offering a collaborative environment. Recent disruptive events had followed in quick succession and had come on top of climate change. This era was one of constant change and business as usual was no longer an option. ‘Preparedness and adaptability’ were the key words. Robust systems that were flexible must be implemented. The good news was that the need for greater resilience coincided with the advancement in digitalisation. R&D could help to make more of technical solutions under Horizon Europe. The network approach must be strengthened, and that included hinterland connections. The fit for 55 initiatives were important steps in the right direction, such as through the promotion of alternative fuels. She had full confidence the transport sector could increase innovation and efficiency. A level playing field must be in place to stimulate investments. Dialogue was key to finding common solutions and ensuring all were better prepared for the future.
1st Session – Climate urgency and energy crisis: which impact for transport in the EU?
Moderator Jaap Gebraad, Secretary General, Waterborne Technology Platform, said his organisation was trying to develop solutions for societal challenges. He thanked Feport for organising this event. Regarding perma-crises, this conference was extremely timely and relevant, The European green deal was clearly need to tackle climate change. An opening remark heard during the COP27 was the need for all hands on deck and he agreed with this stance.
Lucy Gilliam, Senior Shipping Policy Officer, Seas at Risk, stated that climate, biodiversity and energy were areas where there were currently crises. A radical transformation of the economy was required. The climate emergency was all around society, and had resulted in record temperatures and extreme flooding, for example. There were also issues such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Business as usual could result in a breakdown of global order. The Collins dictionary recently noted that ‘perma-crisis’ was the word of the year. This meant that there were spill over effects from crises that could disrupt other parts of the interconnected system, and this was seen in the knock-on effects caused by the Covid pandemic, for example.
Two trends were contributing to risk acceleration: the enormous growth of consumption beyond ecological limits and the constant maximalisation of efficiencies and speed of supply chains. Concerning the climate crisis, environmental impacts had arrived earlier than predicted and rising GHG emissions were changing everything. The climate was starting to become chaotic and every moment there was a failure to act reduced the resilience of systems people needed. Failure to act led society towards cascading tipping points. The collapse of the Greenland and West Arctic icesheets was an example of clear tipping points. Triggering such tipping points would result in a sea-level rise and this could have a catastrophic effect. The UN Secretary General stated at COP27 that a radical transformation was needed to avoid exceeding the 1.5 limit degree limit. This meant that more balanced consumption was needed.
Ultimately, people and nature must be put first and the dominant economic paradigm must be questioned. A financial transformation was needed whereby developed economies removed fossil fuel subsidies, for example. She also supported the loss and damage fund for developing countries. The biodiversity crisis must be tackled at the COP15 on biodiversity taking place next week. Biodiversity loss was ranked as one of the biggest threats facing humanity. In 1971, Earth ‘overshoot day’ was on December 25th. This threshold was reached on July 28th in 2022.
To tackle the crisis in relation to shipping, a switch to renewable fuels was required. However, renewable energy was likely to be scarce and expensive over the next few years. Reducing consumption was a better solution. The OECD and World Bank had been using the ISRR Framework. Under this framework the aim to avoid unnecessary shipping was set out as the greenest ship was the one that was not needed. Creating truly circular economies was also key. The use of data could optimise shipping and this could lead to a drop in emissions of 30 percent without cutting the amount of goods shipped.
Sails and other wind technologies could also be used where possible to cut emissions. To improve operations, an idea could also be to slow ships down, for example. Recently, an adult female humpback whale was decapitated by a ship and slowing speeds could avoid this. Resilience must also be enhanced and reducing the length of transport through localising supply chains could be considered in this regard. The current times were unprecedented and required collaboration at a scale not seen before.
She hoped there would be an alignment with science in terms of policy as emissions must be halved by 2030. Full decarbonisation of shipping well before 2050 was also required. A support for a just transition and climate mitigation fund was needed, especially for those not responsible for the crisis. 26 trillion euro could ultimately be saved if early action was taken. Shipping accounted for 3 percent of global emissions and ports must transform into thriving hubs of circular economy. She recommended accelerating port electrification and zero emission fuels. Collaboration was needed to advance common standards and investment frameworks and green shipping routes. Ships must be put on a reduced emissions pathway.
The EU was a global player in terms of tackling emissions from global shipping and the green deal called for a 90 percent emissions reduction in transport. EU proposals must align with science. All shipping activities must be covered and they should be propulsion energy centric. In addition, the EU must step up initiatives vis-à-vis non-EU countries. a recent study showed 84 percent of shipping traffic went through Europe, China and the US and these three entities could come together to reduce emissions. It was time for a complete transformation of the economy; however, the political will to change had yet been mobilised. The future could be radically changed through small actions taken now. ‘The future was ours to create’, she finished.
An attendee asked about the 84 percent figure. How could more collaboration be seen between China, the US and the EU?
Lucy Gilliam replied that there were already initiatives going on in China and the US looking to replicate some policies enacted in the EU, including carbon pricing. Polycentric network governance was required and there should be more global partnerships. The idea was to get the IMO to act. However, things were moving slowly at the IMO and that must change.
Indra Vonck, Director, Sustainability & Climate, Deloitte, stated that he would focus on sustainability as it affected everyone. What one did made a difference, he underlined. It was not just the European Commission or the IMO that needed to take action, but everyone. This year, the focus was not only on the maritime industry, but on other crises, including the energy crisis and climate events that were affecting the current way of doing business. There were three types of main risks today. First, physical risks, such as the drying out of waterways. Second, transitional risks from the change that needed to be made. Third, opportunities that could be realised though they also entailed risk.
Physical impact risks also included sea-level rises. Regarding a basic supply chain going from Bavaria to the German hinterland, it was possible barges could no longer be used in summer if the waterways dried up and a lot of different vulnerabilities were being seen. The demand for energy would only rise if it was harder to move cargo which would likely push energy prices higher. All these things would drive a large need for investment. There were many factors coming together that would require a lot of investment, including from the public sphere and private industry. Billions of euro would be needed in terms of investment. If this was not done now, disruptions would only continue.
There were also policy shocks, such as under the fit for 55 package. There were a lot of other regulations being implemented which set out the steps for change. CSRD, for example, meant that companies needed to make big changes. Such policy was pushing the EU in the right direction, however. Competition was also being affected through policy changes, with the competitiveness of European ports also being affected due to the new rules and regulations. Putting all this together showed there was a potential reduction of production in Europe and there was increased administrative expenditure, for example. All this led to the possibility of lower incomes. There were opportunities as well, such as in the area of renewables. Overall, as long as the investments and potential were in place, there was still an upside. He emphasised the need for all to coordinate and work together, noting this was his main message.
An attendee asked Indra Vonck about how he saw growth in Europe. What could be re-shored? How could developing countries still be supported?
Indra Vonck replied that re-shoring was being seen for some quality products to Europe and this was of course negative for global supply chains. In terms of the effects of the ‘perma-crisis’, lower growth levels would be seen. He said debate would have to be had on which new products to focus on for re-shoring. Growth would necessarily have to go down.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad said what he took away was the need for cooperation. Another takeway was the need to change together and to change the economic model in a sustainable way.
Paul Goris, Board Member, EBU, remarked that he was active in inland waterways and transport and was also a director for a dry port terminals organisation. He echoed that there was a sense of urgency in terms of a need for investment in infrastructure and that climate change posed a huge issue.
Peter Schild, Director of Marine Fuels, Proman, noted that his company was the second largest producer of methanol in the world. The company was founded in 1984 and had grown overtime, with 10 million tonnes of petrochemicals now being produced, with 6 million accounting for methanol and 3 million for ammonia. His company was investing in green projects, such as a bioethanol plant in Canada. Proman also engaged in gas extraction and undertook its technical operations itself. In 2019, Proman bought six dual fuel methanol vessels and three were already on the water.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) stated she was a Member of the European Parliament and the Parliament’s Transport Committee. She was a negotiator on the EU’s fuel maritime proposal. She lived in Venlo which was a transport hub, including for inland waterways and trucks. She welcomed the idea of increased cooperation in this area.
Lau Blaxekjær, Senior Project Manager, Global Maritime Forum, said his organisation had an initiative called the ‘getting to zero coalition’ which was a partnership between the World Economic Forum and the Global Maritime Forum. A lot of discussion was held on reducing emissions to zero. While long-term goals were fine, clear short-term goals were needed. By 2030, they aimed to have commercially viable zero emission vessels operating on the deep sea. Having 5 percent of such vessels on the sea would ultimately push down costs and make them more viable.
Jan-Christoph Napierski, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping/Green corridors, said his organisation was a foundation working on the decarbonisation of shipping along the whole value chain. The Center employed about 100 people and half were engineers working on projects along the whole value chain, for energy production to shipbuilding, for example. He would focus on how to get first mover projects going in the area of green corridors and the framework needed to reach decarbonisation by 2050.
Torben Seebold, Member of the Board, HHLA, said he would share his company’s strategy on defining the road to decarbonisation for container handling. The largest electrified container terminal in the world was being run by the HHLA in Hamburg and he underlined the importance of linking R&D and making real use cases for the industry. Thresholds were needed as to how Co2 emissions should be lowered going forward. His company’s goal was to reduce emissions to zero by 2040; this was only possible if all stakeholders joined forces.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad, on the regulatory part, asked Ms Tax if the measures the EU was taking were ambitious enough.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) replied that they were indeed ambitious. It was the first time a whole continent was taking such big decisions, such as under the fit for 55 package. No one in Brussels could accurately tell the impact of this legislation, however, as it affected so many levels. She hoped what would be achieved would allow for zero emissions to be reached by 2050 and that the right pieces of the puzzle were now in place. She would like to have high targets regarding renewable fuels of non-biological origins, and she had hoped this would be fixed at 5-6 percent and not 2 percent. She called on all present to demand that their politicians were more ambitious in this area.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad asked Mr Blaxekjær what the key takeaways were from COP27.
Lau Blaxekjær said it was not clear that maritime transport was currently an indispensable part of the conversation on the energy transition and this must be addressed. Moreover, shipping was a key area to roll out green hydrogen and similar sustainable fuels, for example. The loss and damage fund agreed upon showed that even a fragmented UN system could agree on a difficult topic. Money from a carbon tax could, for instance, flow into this fund. The IMO must also deliver on complicated topics.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad asked Mr Schild about alternative fuels and energy sources. Which ones could constitute sustainable solutions?
Peter Schild said he was biased as his company was the second largest producer of methanol in the world. There was no silver bullet, however, and there were many solutions out there. Methanol was a fuel which was available today and there was a clear pathway to net zero up to 2050. However, plants took time to build and capacities needed to be increased which called for huge investments. Methanol was a product that could significantly reduce emissions and carbon capture technologies could further reduce emissions. Many shipping companies were ordering vessels powered by methanol. A lot was going on regarding ammonia too; however, it was difficult to use and it also produced nitrous oxide. Ammonia was currently not a viable option, though this could change. 350 million tonnes of bunker fuel were burnt today by the industry and this would be equivalent to 800 million tonnes of methanol. However, the global production capacity of methanol was currently only around 125 million tonnes and the capacity of green molecules in ethanol needed to be beefed up.
An attendee said it was disappointing that Maersk and IBM announced the end of the TradeLens and she asked for a comment on this.
Peter Schild replied that he was not informed enough about this deal to offer a response.
Paul Goris asked Mr Schild how to advise members of his organisation on what type of engines should be invested in for waterway vessels.
Peter Schild said he was not a vessel specialist. All engine manufacturers had technology under development to burn methanol in the future. Methanol was easier to handle compared to other fuels which was also why it was popular. Conversion packages were also being worked with regard to fuel injection systems. There were potentially other solutions, such as using batteries on ferries that went from A to B and back again.
An attendee asked about the use of nuclear power concerning vessels.
Peter Schild replied that he believed big companies were also looking into this option; however, he was not an expert on this area.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) agreed on the need for a good fuel mix. It was up to ship owners to decide what to use. However, if scale-up of zero emission fuels was not ensured, green targets would not be achieved.
Peter Schild, on fossil fuels, noted there was a default value given and this showed methanol to be worse than MGO. However, this was not the case. The carbon footprint to produce methanol was lower but this could currently not be proved. Co2 emissions could be reduced by almost 90 percent regarding the production side of methanol. As such, a way must be found that this approach could be promoted.
Lau Blaxekjær underlined the importance of focussing on fuels that were scalable. Green hydrogen based fuels, including methanol, were clearly options. Regulations were needed to set signals for the market to further develop these fuels. Over the last two years, projects on methanol and ammonia had decreased, however, and this was an issue.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad noted that the industry was investing hugely in decarbonising. He asked Mr Seebold for a comment on this.
Torben Seebold stated that the sector must be openminded and have real use cases to show what was working. His company, together with the UAE and the German Government, had set up a safe and sufficient containerised transport chain for ammonia out of Hamburg. Another project his organisation was part of was a test centre in Hamburg to prove that terminal equipment could be run with hydrogen, including for trucks that had mainly used diesel at the port. He agreed action must be taken now.
An attendee asked if there was an action plan in case energy production had peaked. The international energy agency produced a report in 2018 that said the peak of conventional oil production was reached in 2018. Renewables had yet to fully replace fossil fuels. This meant that energy production might decrease. Alternative energy was not necessarily green either as they often produced externalities. Was there a plan B in case overall energy production had been reached?
Lau Blaxekjær replied that peak energy production had not been reached. For example, green hydrogen projects were being rolled out, as were largescale solar panel farms. There were practical concerns regarding new forms of energy, such as whether the raw materials could be secured. However, these problems could be solved. A lot had happened over the since 2018.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad remarked that fluctuating water levels presented a key challenge. He asked panellists for their views on mitigating climate change in this sense.
Paul Goris stated that this was forcing the industry to make adjustments. There had also been extremely high water levels seen over the last few years. This showed that a resilient infrastructure network was needed, such as under the TEN-T network. Better investments were also required, as was increased maintenance of infrastructure. He called on national policymakers to ensure good infrastructure maintenance. Greener industry must also be supported by policymakers.
Peter Schild echoed that the impact on rivers had been seen. This meant that more investment in rail infrastructure was required. Germany was looking at political plans to shift 40 percent of the carbon load from road to rail by 2030. This would need a joint effort and a common approach and good connectivity.
Paul Goris agreed with Mr Schild’s comments in terms of the importance of rail infrastructure.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad, on vessel design, asked Mr Goris if anything could be done to allow them sail better through fluctuating water levels.
Paul Goris replied that energy sources were key to this. There must be a good regulatory network to allow for innovation to adapt vessels.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad said he would like to shift to the green corridor initiatives. How could this happen?
Jan-Christoph Napierski held that what was needed for decarbonisation was to demonstrate that the whole value chain could be decarbonised. The energy dimension was absolutely key here. 1,500 to 2,000 Gigawatts of alternative energy production would likely be needed to reach decarbonisation targets. Ideally, the whole maritime sector should know the target was zero emissions by 2050. On the green corridors, huge investments were needed to show decarbonisation was possible. The ETS could help to decarbonise routes in the EU and then out of the EU. The Center had carried out studies on what was needed to decarbonise several ports, including Hamburg. The baseline was that this could be done; however, good cooperation between all stakeholders was required. The global approach was also essential in this context. The Center also had an agreement with the Chilean Government on rolling out green corridors.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad asked Ms Tax if the EU needed to push for decarbonisation at the global level.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) replied that Europe had implemented the fit for 55 package and was now the global frontrunner. She did not like the way the IMO was trying to set goals and she thought it was good to have bilateral green corridor deals in place. She went to Washington a few months ago and they were interested in how the EU was working on the maritime fuel initiative as some wanted to copy and paste this idea. This should be done using both a public and private approach.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad asked whether Parliament was considering the difficult economic situation that Europe found itself in.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) said this was of course taken into account. Fit for 55 was also trying to ensure the Union could both profitable and green. Thinking only of profit meant that people and the planet would not prevail. For example, fast fashion was terrible and such approaches needed to be changed.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad, on the modal shift, asked what was needed to enhance this shift.
Paul Goris stated that the whole supply chain should be focused on, including trucking companies and inland waterways, for example. The logic should be to make the whole network more efficient and good cooperation was key to this. Such initiatives were already in place in the Netherlands. This must also be driven by subsidies; in the long-run, the most economically viable way should be supported.
An attendee asked where the money would come from for all these investments. Where would the staff come from to implement all this infrastructure given the lack of experts?
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) replied that Parliament had pushed for revenues from ETS to go to investments in the shipping sector and 20 million euro had been earmarked in this regard. This was a highly transitional phase and she agreed that the requisite knowledge was needed and the risk was that here was a skills shortfall. The money should also be used to upskill workers in the sector. Windfall profits could also be taken from big liners and invested back into the sector.
Paul Goris stated that some money made by port authorities could also be used to tackle bottlenecks.
Torben Seebold, on optimising cargo flows, said there was also a digital data dimension and this could allow for traffic optimisation. In Hamburg, there was a joint project which was designed to bring different players’ data together, including rail and shipping, to avoid bottlenecks. This was a trust based project and showed how competitive players could be brought together to cooperate.
Moderator Jaap Gebraad asked the panellists to provide their key takeaways.
Paul Goris stated no one could now deny that climate change was not an issue. It was clear there should be a good energy mix regarding alternatives. He also took away the fact that a real modal shift was needed and this should be done with all players along the chain. This meant good infrastructure was required and it should also be maintained. The legal and political framework must also go hand in hand with the goals and targets set out.
Peter Schild underlined that there needed to be a shift from fossil fuels and a level playing field was also required. There should also be investment into alternatives and optimisation of needed infrastructure. The right regulations must be in place to give alternative fuels a chance.
Vera Tax (S&D, NL) stated that a clear pathway that was consistent must be set out. The other key was having the right knowledge in place so that changes could be introduced. There should also be more diversity in the industry, particularly regarding the gender dimension.
Lau Blaxekjær said that action taken now could change the future. The 1.5-degree Celsius target was still possible; however, that window was rapidly closing. There was also a policy window; for example, the IMO would meet in July and adopt its revised GHG strategy and this could allow for an ambitious plan to be set out. Some companies were also calling for governments to make them pay higher taxes and this showed there was an issue on the tax side of things. The US Inflation Reduction Act was putting a lot of money into alternative energies and the EU needed to increasingly invest in this area too.
Jan-Christoph Napierski remarked that all were in the same boat as all were affected by climate change. Policy needed to set out clear targets and clarity for all stakeholder was needed. Businesses must become more responsible and green corridors must be established. The legislation on the table was a good point of departure in the EU. The public and private sectors must be brought together. Green bonds were issued last year and a lot of private investors had shown they wanted to invest in this area.
Torben Seebold said the discussion showed that bridges must be built between silos and that integrated approaches were needed. Solutions must be discussed now regarding issues ranging from the need to invest in green alternatives to better infrastructure.
2nd Session – War in Ukraine, and EU transport infrastructure
Moderator Conor Feighan, Secretary General, ERFA, noted that logistics did not exist in a vacuum and ports and rail were connected as part of the supply chain. Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, new issues had emerged. There were questions as to how to support Ukraine, in addition to how the war there was impacting the world of logistics and exposing the vulnerability of supply chains. Council would take a decision on TEN-T on December 5th and thus this event came at good time.
Caroline Nagtegaal (RE, NL), appearing via video link, said that the challenges had to be taken up together regarding the need to roll out renewable energies. Moreover, the consequences of the Russian invasion had been felt across Europe. Russia was a danger to the European way of life. Energy bills had risen to extreme levels as a result of the war. At the same time, there was a huge climate change challenge and the energy transition must be pushed. Ports and the port industry were investing massively to make their business model more sustainable which she supported. She was negotiating the regulation on the infrastructure for alternative fuels, and she noted the importance of hydrogen, for example, as a potential solution. This roll out must take place with all stakeholders involved, including port operators.
Furthermore, the climate of investment resilience in European infrastructure must also be taken into account and this would mainstream investment in this regard. The sector also needed a good degree of investor security. The EU repower package could contribute to this and the package had a strong link with the commitment to reform. The EIB would increase investments to 30 billion euro and this could trigger investments up to 50 billion. In the end, a realistic timetable must be kept in mind. She underlined the importance of cooperating and listening to one another.
Moderator Conor Feighan underlined that there were ambitious modal shift objectives and it had to be discussed how to get there given rising costs, such as in the area of energy. He then gave the floor to Mr Baron.
Alain Baron, Head of International Transport Sector, DG MOVE, echoed that Europe was facing unprecedented challenges, including for the transport sector. Pragmatic solutions had to be developed. The Russian war of aggression had prevented Ukraine from exporting a lot of its grain across the world and this situation had created several challenges, including a threat to global food security. There was also less and less space to store the new harvest. Logistic routes were needed for humanitarian aid and food and fuel for Ukraine. Moreover, another consequence had been a significant drop of wealth in Ukraine, with GDP dropping by 40 percent year on year.
The Commission had looked into how to replace the blockade of Black Sea ports. The main solution was to send this produce through EU corridors. The latest figures showed that many countries in Africa and Asia, in addition to European countries, had availed of these lanes. These lanes were also for imports. In addition, these lanes were there to last. Ukraine and Moldova had also been granted the status of candidate countries. Solidarity lanes were a concrete response to the crisis. Many solidarity lanes had been created, with the Danube Corridor to the Black Sea port lane accounting for more than 50 percent of grain transported along the lanes. The second most important lane went through Poland. Black Sea ports were still facing challenges, however, and there were still long waiting times in place.
The administrative bottlenecks seen at the start meant that goods had been stuck at the Ukraine-EU border for days. It had taken time for this to be resolved but the situation had greatly improved. Solidarity lanes were currently the only option for Ukraine in terms of being connected to the rest of the world. However, there were remaining issues concerning the lanes. The logistics system worked but it was being overloaded at some ports. Inland waterway transport was also being used, for example in Romania. Lorry drivers also often had long waits to cross the border. The situation in Poland had improved overall and priority goods could use priority lanes. Much remained to be done to make sure the solidarity lanes were fully operational and functional, however.
Regarding grain, a lot had to be done to make the export and transport of grain more efficient. Phytosanitary authorities also had a lot of work with the volume of grain crossing the border. Railtrack gauge differences were also a challenge in terms of efficiency. Additional capacity regarding infrastructure was essential, and the TEN-T would focus on this area. In some Black Sea ports, everything was done on paper and this must be changed as this created bottlenecks. The rail system was also not very flexible and this had to be tackled. There was also a problem with rolling stock as there was a lack of locomotives. A bottleneck was also a lack of qualified drivers. All such issues must be tackled to increase capacities. No solution had been found so far concerning the rising cost of shipping freight. On the coordination between Member States and Ukraine, he noted that electronic exchange was now done on an hourly basis between Romania and Ukraine, whereas before there had only been a weekly exchange.
The first market affected in the region after the outbreak of war was the Romanian one with large transport price increases seen. Ukraine had set some maximum barge transport prices, however, and it must be ensured that such arbitrary measures from the Ukrainian side should no longer be able to affect EU markets. EU support was also designed to bring Ukraine further towards increased transposition of EU law. The EU was still committed to providing the solidarity lanes for as long as required. When the war finished, the lanes would be important for bringing reconstruction materials to the region. Beyond trade issues, trains had also carried refugees from Ukraine to the EU.
Moderator Conor Feighan noted that solidarity lanes, while welcomed, were not a silver bullet. He asked the panellists to introduce themselves.
Peter Kiss, CEO, Metrans, said Metrans played a central role as a railway terminal operator.
Alberto Mazzola, Secretary general, CER, stated that his company was heavily involved in expanding the rail network to Ukraine.
Gert Bosscher, Head of Black Sea, Copenhagen Merchants, explained that his organisation was also involved in rolling out the rail solidarity lanes.
Tom Peeters, Vice President Road, ETF, said his organisation was involved in logistics spanning road, rail and waterways.
Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG) noted that he was Member of the European Parliament and was heavily involved in the Transport Committee.
Moderator Conor Feighan asked Mr Mazzola what the impact of the war in Ukraine had been on the European economy.
Alberto Mazzola supported the Commission’s push for rolling out solidarity lanes. Capacity had been greatly increased. However, there were profound changes, with traffic reducing dramatically in the Baltic countries, for example, while traffic increased greatly in countries bordering Ukraine. An issue was that there was a lack of rail carriages and personnel, for instance. A secondary effect was being faced in terms of the price of electricity by 1,000 percent in some cases and this had had a huge impact. By the end of next year, the price could be higher than today and companies were struggling. The greener one was, the more expensive energy was and this must be considered. The European railways had transported around 3.5 million refugees since the beginning of the crisis. There could be many additional refugees coming to Europe the harder the winter became.
Moderator Conor Feighan asked Mr Kiss whether what had been just said resonated with him. What challenges were being faced on the ground?
Peter Kiss agreed that there were not enough rail cars and personnel, for example. This is what the industry had been stating for years. Another obstacle was the price of electricity. Rail infrastructure dedicated to transporting cargo must also be rolled out as the current network was not adequate, with capacity under 30 percent.
Moderator Conor Feighan, on long waits at ports, said this must create labour force issues. He asked what was being seen in terms of workers’ responses.
Gert Bosscher underlined the need for both hardware and software to be looked after. The hardware was the infrastructure and the software was the transport worker. It was a hard job and the Commission had cleared a budget for safe parking areas and this was very important. Being stuck at borders where there were no facilitates was not good for attracting workers. There was also a problem in rail and aviation and waterways. The average age for a truck driver was over 50 years of age and the problem would only get worse. The railway workforce was also quite old on average. These sectors must be made more attractive to young people.
Moderator Conor Feighan asked Mr Peeters about the developments in the area of the organisation of supply chains.
Tom Peeters said he was sad about what was happening to the sector. Water-based transport was usually cheapest, followed by rail and then truck. 1 million tonnes had been transported by rail on the solidarity lanes. The lack of investments over the past decade in central European rail infrastructure had come to the fore as a result of the war in Ukraine. It was only partly about the availability of rolling stock; it was also about planning and ensuring efficiencies. A lot of work needed to be done in terms of facilitating ease of border crossings for trains. Delays resulted in additional Co2 output, for example. He was recently at the Bulgarian-Romanian border and saw a 25-kilometre long queue of trucks. The investment in infrastructure was badly needed. There was a perfect storm in place, including low water levels on the Rhine and Danube. He was optimistic about the efforts being made by the EU, such as moving five or six million tonnes from Ukraine. There also needed to be better cooperation between DG MOVE and DG TAXUD, and also at the national level.
Moderator Conor Feighan said efficiency of operations seemed to be the best solution to the crisis. He asked Mr Novakov on the role of Parliament over the last year. How had Parliament been assisting the industry and Ukraine?
Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG), on the 25-kilometre queues, held that this was on a good day, as queues could be much longer. If Bulgaria and Romania could join Schengen, this would reduce crossing times. Referring to a flying lesson he did, the advice he received was to look out for any traffic or obstacles that could hinder the journey and this approach should be taken by those planning rail journeys. The green deal was agreed upon before the pandemic and the war in Ukraine and these crises had changed the macro backdrop. Inflation was up to 15 percent on average in the EU. Not too many people were now worried about the green deal given the crises being faced. He underlined the need for the EU to respond to people’s demands. Parliament was at a crucial period regarding the TEN-T network. Around 3,000 amendments had been tabled on this regulation. It would be difficult to reach an outcome as all understood why transport was so crucial. 6 billion euro of additional mobility investment in the areas of civil and military transport were required, for example. The TEN-T network would allow for good investments into the network over the next 15 years.
Moderator Conor Feighan, on the green deal, agreed that this had been replaced by people’s concerns about inflation and the energy crisis. He asked Mr Mazzola about how a modal shift could be ensured whilst also struggling through high energy costs.
Alberto Mazzola replied that he fully believed in the green deal. On TEN-T, this had rolled out an additional 80 percent of motorways. It was important to modify the TEN-T plan when required, however. The energy point was central as businesses and people were suffering. Railways were client number one and they must be supported. There were many questions on the table, such as how to use the windfall profits from energy and he hoped this would be ploughed back into rail infrastructure. The temporary framework regarding the war on Ukraine had also provided extra support and adequate support for the sector must continue. On TEN-T, it was important for the long-term and focus must look towards 2040 or 2050.
Alain Baron, regarding the revision of the TEN-T, stated that he believed what was being proposed by the Commission would lead to better rail connections with countries such as Moldova. The Commission had set out good milestones and indicators and additional tranches of funding would not be provided to Member States if they did not hit these targets. Better implementation was key and this went for all modes of transport. Ms Von der Leyen had set out that there would be an extra 1 billion euro for the solidarity lanes three weeks ago, with 700 million euro of this made up of loans. The Commission was looking at what could be done immediately and digitalisation was an obvious area where progress could be made. Increasing efficiencies was also a way to increase capacities. A small investment did not mean a bad investment and, if well targeted, could increase capacities. There were projects being discussed at the Ukrainian border to connect the rail networks in areas where they were not yet connected. The energy crisis was playing a central role and it was cheaper to use diesel locomotives in Romania at the moment. However, the goal must be to decarbonise the economy. There was a blockage on the Danube this summer due to low water levels and this showed the need to act.
Moderator Conor Feighan said there was a clear link between TEN-T and Ukraine. He asked Mr Novakov if the proposal was resilient enough.
Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG) replied that it was not. The Commission had proposed something but directly elected officials had not been able to contribute enough. Along with some other colleagues, he had tabled amendments designed to better secure defence capacity. He had proposed to put a new channel from the Danube to the Black Sea – Ruse to Varna -, which would shorten the distance from the Bosporus to the Atlantic by two days. These types of projects would allow Europe to have a long-term vision. A new corridor, former corridor number 8, from Varna to Durrës via Skopje would also connect the Black Sea and Adriatic which was positive.
Gert Bosscher noted that a challenge for Romania and Bulgaria remained to finalise the projects and implement them. The Danube had a fantastic hinterland and there was huge potential for the whole area. There must be much more investment in the area.
Moderator Conor Feighan remarked that Europe needed to use this crisis to improve the infrastructure and network. He asked Mr Kiss what a main vulnerability was in the EU supply chain, particularly in rail?
Peter Kiss replied that the supply chain did not exist as a concept now as there were many challenges. This had started with Covid, though the signs were there before. The supply chain no longer worked. There was now a ‘new normal’ and the question was also how to find a way out. At this moment, the railway was being destroyed due to lack of investments and coordination. Waiting times were enormous at the Serbian border, for example, and this was posing huge issues. Consideration also needed to be given to energy issues too. No Covid pandemic help reached the railways sector in some countries and a solution had to be found to the lack of investment.
Tom Peeters said a lack of coordination between countries when it came to dredging inland waterways was creating bottlenecks and this was an example where more cooperation was needed. It took 10-12 days to take a train from Beijing to Frankfurt, but it took another 10 to send a train from Frankfort to Madrid.
Moderator Conor Feighan opened the floor to questions.
An attendee said the timing of the green deal was good as it was clear that Europe was overly dependent on certain sources of energy. She called for approaches regarding the transition to be well chosen. The people who maintain the infrastructure must be well selected.
Tom Peeters stated that the road sector was ahead in terms of cohesion in a lot of ways in Europe as all trucks were more or less the same. However, the people behind the wheel did not have the same conditions and he knew that a minimum wage was being discussed. This should have been introduced a long time ago. The transport industry as a whole was a chain and the weakest link would impact the whole industry. He had the impression Europe was not listening to the people working in the industry. Not having adequate staff numbers would lead to a standstill. He noted that some truck companies had destroyed some of their trucks as they did not have enough drivers. Both hardware and software must be focussed on.
Moderator Conor Feighan remarked that what he had taken away was that the war in Ukraine had highlighted the vulnerabilities of the system. He asked panellists what was needed and for their view of where we were.
Tom Peeters called for ambition to be shown, especially with regard to workers. There had to be real delivery in this area.
Gert Bosscher underlined the need for transparency of logistics to be increased so cargo could arrive as planned.
Alberto Mazzola stressed the need for more infrastructure as there was a real lack in this context. This must be addressed now.
Peter Kiss said that decisions taken needed to make everyone’s life easier.
Alain Baron stated that good personnel were needed to tender and manage projects.
Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG) remarked that proper infrastructure would always be needed, regardless of how digital the world became. Europe must invest in its own content before China did.
3rd Session – Competitiveness and resilience in the era of perma-crises
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj, Secretary General, Feport, said she was glad to moderate this last session as it would echo the central topic of the conference as a whole: competitiveness and resilience. All were talking about the need to maintain competitiveness. This session would go further in-depth into how policymakers could better support industry in these areas. She then gave the floor to Mr Wenzel.
Boris Wenzel, Co-CE, Yilport, stated that the sector had experienced a series of crises over the past few years. The main thing was that this was probably not over as more crises were likely on the horizon. Shipping reliability had totally collapsed as a result of these crises and one did not now know whether a ship would arrive or not. Freight prices had multiplied by 10 in some cases and huge port congestion had also been seen. Shipping lines were probably the only industry that made insane profits when they served their customers in the worst way and this was an issue. There were even surcharges to book a container, even after prices had already risen so much.
There was a sense that there had been a collapse in demand over the last six to nine months, though ship liners were ordering ships like never before and thus another crisis was looming. During the recent crises, the port industry had adapted as it always did. The port industry showed resilience and ensured that the supply chains continued to function. In some cases, it had been difficult for ports to be profitable. Ports not in main trade lanes often did not do so well and second-tier ports had less volume and less storage as all the containers had disappeared.
It seemed as though the regulators had been sleeping during this whole time. A lot of concentration had been put on addressing large tech platforms and no similar reflection had been had on the shipping market, which was very concentrated. There was also vertical expansion of the shipping sector which meant that one shipping line now called themselves a ‘logistics solution provider’. There was also the concept of alliances by shipping lines. Moreover, there was an advantageous tax regime for shipping lines and this was creating an uneven playing field for ports as they paid taxes on profits. 90-95 percent of goods purchased were shipped by container and this was a concentrated market.
To remain competitive, port stakeholders had continued to invest and innovate. There had been a lot of investment in digitalisation and common industry standards had been set out by a group of ports that were working together on this, which was called TIC4.0. The idea was to bring together suppliers and terminal operators so they could collaborate on standards. Innovation was digitalisation and, to automate efficient, one first needed to digitalise. There were still very few fully automated ports and they had not proved to be more efficient. Members of the TIC4.0 project were present on all continents and, with regard to the set-up, there was an Executive Board in place. The Operations Council formed team to work on specific topics. A sixth publication would soon come out and results were being produced. The strategy was to become more and more professional and deliver results that could then be applied to pilot projects. He thanked Ms Kerdjoudj for the invitation and noted that without her TIC4.0 would probably not exist.
The five-year plan was to develop the standards into ISO standards for terminal operations. About two weeks ago, a label was launched called ‘we talk TIC’. The main concern when developing standards was that no one would use them afterwards and the idea was to incentivise players in the industry to use TIC. Climate change effects would increasingly be seen and the industry would have to adapt. Moreover, there was a concern that the concentration of the shipping industry would affect terminal operators. The Commission should do its work as under a mutual model approach and ensure the consortia model still made sense, especially as it gave control and power over data to the major shipping lines. There must be a level playing field in place. Lines were aggressively buying ports with profits they paid no taxes on and this was not fair.
Moisés Blanco Ríos, Policy Officer, DG RTD, took the floor and noted that Ms van der Vlies could not attend the event. He echoed that there were more crises to come and he underlined the importance of resilience. The fit for 55 package would have a huge impact, as would the EU Repower plan. Energy supplies must be diversified and energy consumption lowered. The roll out of renewables was ramping up and this would impact the economy as a whole. Ports could become clean energy suppliers for the vessels in line with the alternative fuel infrastructure regulation and thus become green hubs. This meant spending more resources and multiplying efforts for the off-shore electricity market. Furthermore, emissions had to be reduced.
The EU had to provide support to all the members involved. Horizon Europe was the main European tool for research and waterborne activities fell under clusters five and six. A stronger approach was being taken to face the challenges that ports had to address nowadays. He highlighted the importance of also focussing on the connection of electricity chains, updating the infrastructure and the need to concentrate on the recharging of batteries. The new call for Horizon Europe would soon be published. He stressed the importance of resilience, noting this had not been concentrated on enough before. The innovation fund was also in place, which already had three projects ongoing, including one involving ports in Spain.
It was also important to find synergies across the board. His key message was that sustainability equalled competitiveness; both went hand-in-hand and efforts to deploy renewables energies must be doubled down on. Challenges to achieving this must be tackled together in cooperation. Other new players would also play a key role, such as the manufacturing industry.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj noted that there were many crises at play. There were also disturbances due to other factors, such as in the area of the regulatory framework. Discussion would also be held on perspectives on how to preserve competitiveness and resilience, including through innovation and regulation. She asked Mr Silla about the needs and expectations in terms of infrastructure and the fit for 55 package. Concerning projects received by CINEA, were the projects presented by Member States on infrastructure all adequately deployed and followed-up on?
Olivier Silla, Head of CEF Department, CINEA, stated that money was not the whole story and projects must be deployed on the ground. The crises had slowed down investment projects. However, so far, the collapse of projects had yet to be seen, though additional money could not be allotted to projects. Maximum flexibility had been shown and this would continue given the impact of Covid and the war in Ukraine etc. Public money put into projects must be well used and the message from his side was the importance of flexibility. At the same time, it was clear that the emphasis should be on long-term resilience and this meant being less dependent on fossil fuels. It was encouraging that a new generation of projects was being seen in the area of renewables. Projects were starting to be seen which would adapt ports to new businesses, such as servicing offshore wind farm platforms.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj agreed that disturbances had been faced, and not only ones related to Covid and the climate urgency and the war in Russia. Some issues had been there for a long time and she asked Mr Oscislowski on the causes of these bottlenecks. Solving some chronic issues could be a positive way forward.
Szymon Oscislowski, Deputy Head of Unit for Maritime Transport and Logistics, DG MOVE, replied that there was a lot of reflection on this point and discussion with private economic operators was always useful. Covid was responsible for some issues and there had been spill over effects. The first takeaway to learn from was that industry was quite resilient overall, despite all the issues, such as lack of predictability. In the long run, there must be clear planning with regard to building in more resilience. This would require good cooperation between public institutions and industry. Long-term measures must also be set out in the regulatory framework.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj asked Mr Notteboom what he had observed over the last two years.
Theo Notteboom, Co-founder and co-director of PortEconomics, agreed that supply chains responded with real resilience overall. However, there were still issues, a main one being that the just in time method may not be feasible over the long-term. There was huge stockpiling ongoing now as a result. On the market structure issue, vertical integration had been seen. Horizontal integration had also taken placed over the past 20 years. This had brought in a new paradigm that had not been seen before. In the future, there would likely be more interaction and competition between players’ core business which would change the game completely. The regulation in place seemed to be lacking regarding this new marketplace where everyone was doing everything and it was hard to analyse relative geographical areas, for example. This posed a huge challenge for regulators. Geographical divergences would also be seen around the world as to how regulators would react to these developments.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj agreed that the same pattern would not be seen everywhere. She asked Mr Campomenosi how people had been impacted by disturbances to the supply chain.
Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT) said there had been huge impacts seen over the last couple of years. For instance, the war in Ukraine had had real consequences. Some public authorities were not too sure about how to tackle inflation, including the ECB, and these reflections had even started before the pandemic. Some industry sectors had also started to stockpile raw materials. Regarding regulators, the fit for 55 package could also impact how the shipping lines operated. The rules must be well defined for all. Now was a very delicate moment. Competition must also be supported by regulation. Value chains were not too strong and they must be strengthened. Near-shoring should also be encouraged. Moreover, global stability was also key to securing supply chains. There must be more cooperation with partners, such as the US.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj noted that some rules may indeed need to be revised to ensure they were fit for the current era. Fragmentation was an issue and proposals had to be consistent with one another. On data, the lack of data exchanges across different parts of the chain was a problem. She asked Mr Blanquer how and why he was working on data exchange.
Francisco Blanquer, CMA CGM Senior Innovation Manager and TIC4.0 Operations Council Chair, said that connecting everything in the logistic chains had formerly been a problem. Now there was much better connectivity and interoperability of systems. Sharing data was key and the idea behind the TIC project was to provide good and clear data on where exactly cargo was, for example. The key was also to disaggregating information to have good data. Now there was a good standard in place that worked wonderfully in the area of logistics. It had been installed by many terminal operators. Thanks to TIC, the status at any point in time could be clearly displayed. All the different layers of reality could be set out. This was really powerful and it was ready for the future. The needs were already there before the pandemic and these types of actions were needed. Having the supporting of regulatory bodies was also key. ISO was also supporting this, though they said it was an ontological/semantics standard and not a standard for terminal operators.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj underlined that this was a success story and showed that industry was moving ahead. She asked Mr Hamalainen if this kind of initiative was allowing the industry to overcome the disturbances that had been seen?
Jari Hamalainen, Director, Terminal Automation, Kalmar, Cargotec Global, noted that there had been a lack of standardisation and digitalisation in this space 10 years ago. Digitalisation had started very slowly, with Covid then accelerating the uptake of digital solutions. Standardisation was key to ramping up digitalisation in the industry. In addition, there was a silver lining regarding the climate crisis as customers were calling for more electrification and alternative fuels.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj noted there was the possibility to have either vertical integration or enhanced cooperation. Could the two go hand-in-hand?
Boris Wenzel said vertical integration was one road to go down, though he was more of a believer in linkages of all sorts between companies. The industry was not there yet in terms of finding the best journey for cargo at any given point in time. Today, only 45 percent of ships arrived on time and that was terrible for planning. The industry had to adapt to this kind of reality and plan accordingly.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj stated that the key was communicating that one was arriving late in advance.
Boris Wenzel agreed and underlined that data was central in this regard.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj, addressing Mr Oscislowski, said that the rules applying to the transport sector were not only handled by the DG for Transport and sometimes there was a heterogeneity in policies that translated into rules that were not consistent. Was a platform needed where transport related issues could be discussed in relation to competition policy, for example?
Szymon Oscislowski agreed that transport was a cross-cutting issue. The Commission tried to cooperate across DGs as much as possible. Events such as this had great added value as industry could highlight issues or state where more collaboration was required. On the famous consortia bloc exemption regulation, a decision on this would be taken in 2024. Stakeholders were also involved as anyone could submit input to this discussion. There must be a horizontal approach for the digital transformation as the whole space was so fragmented. The European strategy for data would provide a clear set of rules for how data should be shared and used, for example. This would also ensure greater privacy of data and ensure better public trust.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj said the Commission’s role in terms of setting up a neutral data framework was crucial. Addressing Mr Campomenosi, she noted it could be difficult to remove some bottlenecks. Had any initiatives been taken by Parliament following the outbreak of the pandemic in this area?
Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT) replied that the importance of ports had been emphasised in the context of the transition. Energy storage would be a key issue. On actions taken, the difficultly for the Commission would be to implement balanced measures. For example, State-aid was allowed during the pandemic which had had a big impact. He was not sure the public would have the possibility to invest in ports and this would have to be discussed. The issue for independent operators was also one of market access and they should be supported to ensure a resilient market. This was also in the interest of regions that had shares in ports. There must be a good balance between all sides’ interests.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj remarked that she had heard the importance of independent players for the importance of employment and the economy.
Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT) stated that the EU should not be a slave to its own rules. There must be the capacity to intervene in the market to ensure it was fit for purpose.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj asked Mr Silla about funding opportunities. A slowdown in projects because of the crises had recently been seen. However, the revised TEN-T was being worked on and would affect new projects. Would a lot of focus be put on tackling climate change or would the approach be more general than that?
Olivier Silla replied that it was clear climate change must be addressed. However, so must the digital transition and others areas, such as safety and security. There was also a new dimension under military mobility. His organisation liked projects that were cooperative and based on standards and that were open to all.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj asked Mr Blanquer if he foresaw other steps after ISO. What kind of impact did he expect this project to have on other players?
Francisco Blanquer stated that the last of the pilot projects were being carried out and the next step was adoption of the standards. These standards could support any port operator. The information needed to do the job had to be there and integration of data was required in this regard. The question was whether data on the entire logistic chain would be provided.
Szymon Oscislowski held that the goal was to come up with a holistic solution in this area.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj asked Mr Hamalainen about massive deployment. Was this possible?
Jari Hamalainen replied it was possible. He would advise his clients to order products compatible with standards, but that was only breaking the first silo. Information was also needed from shipping lines as well, for example, and there were many phases still to come.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj asked the panellists for a closing word on resilience and competitiveness of EU industries. What was their recommendation, takeaway and strong belief?
Szymon Oscislowski underlined the importance of cooperation.
Olivier Silla said it was about taking long-term decisions.
Francisco Blanquer stated that resilience required many to work together.
Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT) remarked that customs in Italy had used paper files until relatively recently and this had been replaced by digital solutions which was positive. Moreover, value chains must be protected.
Theo Notteboom noted that many people stated the importance of thinking outside the box. In this context, it was thinking out of the port that was key. It was important to connect ports and terminals to the entire supply chains.
Jari Hamalainen remarked that the speed of change was ultimately exponential. The process was just at the beginning so people should not worry.
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj thanked the panellists for their input.
An attendee asked Mr Campomenosi how critical European infrastructure could be protected from takeovers by non-European actors.
Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT) replied that a new EU regulation had been set out to tackle this issue. Governments were more and more aware of these problems and they were right to address them.
An attendee said he had a key recommendation on green corridors: actors should make data and plans for guidelines available so that any authority could see what was being planned.
Francisco Blanquer said he did not understand the question as there was no obligation to share data unless required to do so by legislation. The important issue was to ensure good standards were in place so data available could be used if the owner decided to share it.
Lau Blaxekjær remarked that making data public could allow for more innovation in ways that could not be predicted. His recommendation was to make as much public as possible.
Francisco Blanquer answered that data was not a public good and the entity that produced it was the owner. Only a few people today knew how to derive value from data and this was an issue.
An attendee noted it was difficult to get industrial players to work together. The fear was that others would monetise data and this meant many were reluctant to share data. It was also about making sure that data was protected from being monetised from third parties if more was to be shared.
Szymon Oscislowski stated that the Commission would provide further rules in this area going forward.
Boris Wenzel said people spent a lot of time calculating shared costs and benefits when it came to sharing data and this meant a lot of valuable time was lost as data rights were not clear.
Short wrap-up of the day
Moderator Lamia Kerdjoudj, Secretary General, Feport, said it was clear that crises would likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. On the plus side, there seemed to be clear awareness that this was the case and all were aware it was difficult. At the same time, the industry had high expectations and ambitions and this was support from legislators and regulators support was needed. It was very important for the regulatory framework and the legislation to guarantee a good balance between reaching green targets, such as under fit for 55, while also preserving the competitiveness of European industries. It was also important that the regulators ensured a regulatory level playing field in terms of data sharing and competition.
Gunther Bonz, Feport President, thanked the Bavarian Representation for their hospitality. He thanked all participants for making the conference a success. Mr Bonz also thanked the Feport staff for organising the event. The first key message today concerned the fit for 55 goals and approaches. There must be an important technology approach and alternative forms of energy would play a key role in this context. Moreover, the goals must be revised concerning the new framework of conditions, as caused by rising energy prices and war in Ukraine, for example. A link between high profits and low service for shipping liners had been discussed and the question was why the EU had not looked into the shipping sector in this regard. Potentially this as because national interests were protecting certain companies.
Digitalisation and data sharing between all partners in the logistic chain was important going forward. There was an open question regarding who was in the driving seat in terms of the shipping industry and whether there was a level playing field. He thanked Ms Kopczynska for her good cooperation over the last years and said it was a pity she was moving to take up a new role from his point of view.
Magda Kopczynska, Director for Waterborne, DG MOVE, thanked Mr Bonz for his kind words. She echoed that the cooperation had been very good over the past years and she had always appreciated these events. True partnership was about speaking in earnest and sharing concerns frankly and this had been the case with Feport. The topics for today’s event again showed that Feport were consistently raising extremely important questions.
- Ms. Lucy Gilliam - Senior Shipping Policy Officer, Seas at Risk
- Mr. Indra Vonk - Director for Sustainability and Climate, Deloitte
- Mr. Boris Wenzel - Co-CEO Yilport
- Mr. Francisco Blanquer - CMA CGM Senior Innovation Manager and TIC4.0 Operations Council Chair
Look at the Conference photo gallery here.
Download the Conference booklet here.