Why labour shortage in transport is worrying?


On the 25th of January, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), organised a roundtable on “The Future for Transport”.  Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, ETF President, Frank Moreels, ETF General Secretary, Livia Spera, EU Parliament TRAN Committee EPP Coordinator, Marian-Jean Marinescu, EU Parliament TRAN Committee S&D Coordinator, Petar Vitanov, EU Parliament TRAN Committee Greens/EFA Coordinator, Ciarán Cuffe and EU Parliament TRAN Committee - The Left Coordinator, Elena Kountoura engaged into an intense debate regarding the mounting labour crisis affecting the transport sector and its workers.  

After the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences of the war in Ukraine have thrown light on the necessity to finalize the TEN-T network, strengthen its physical and digital connectivity and to diversify investments in different energy sources.

The EU is facing important challenges and if we want to be able to meet the objectives, there is an urgent need to tackle all issues in a holistic way. Hence, the importance of the recent announcements of the EU Commission’s President, Ms Von der Leyen[1] regarding the Green Deal Industrial Plan and its key pillars: regulatory environment, financing, skills and trade.

Labour shortages in all industries can directly impact local, regional, and global supply chains. For example, understaffing in a factory will cause production slowdowns, resulting in inventory stock-outs for distributors and retailers. However, as evoked during ETF’s roundtable, in transport and logistics, the shortage of available labour directly impacts cargo flows and thus the fluidity of the supply chains.

It is expected that labour shortages will only intensify as many workers reach retirement age while the sector remains unable to attract young and women workers. 

Transport and transport work in the European Union are matters of national and European legislation. Therefore, it is crucial for policy-makers to develop policies that will solve the structural problems faced by the transport sector.

Without enough truck drivers, shipping containers will sit in ports much longer than they should.

The long-haul truck driver shortage has created capacity shortages among trucking carriers, making it difficult for shippers to move inventory from ports to distribution centres promptly.

Understaffed warehouses and distribution centres can’t operate at full capacity, creating delays that result in material or inventory shortages for manufacturers and retailers.

Finally, the significant rise in e-commerce sales volumes can make it difficult for understaffed centres to keep pace with order fulfilment volumes.

The above-mentioned cases are only very few examples showing how labour shortages exacerbate supply chain bottlenecks. If we want to avoid another perfect storm for supply chain disruption, there is an urgent need to re-evaluate labour policies, hiring and retention practices as well as work/life balance for employees.

Crises like COVID 19 and the war in Ukraine have shown how reliant we are on people to ensure the security of supplies (goods, medicines, equipment etc..). It is also important to acknowledge that a crisis like COVID 19 has thoroughly modified the attitude of blue and white collars' workers towards work. Hence, the importance to use this moment to reflect upon the new needs and expectations and take action.


[1] Special Address by the President at the World Economic Forum (europa.eu)


14-01-2023 – IRENA supports the maritime sector to boost decarbonisation efforts

On the 14th of January, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) organised in Abu Dhabi a high-level ministerial roundtable, named “Decarbonising Shipping: The Role of Ports in Addressing Supply, Demand and Trade of Renewable-Based Fuels”, to discuss how to ensure the supply of renewable-based maritime fuels and how to create a legislative framework to facilitate the trade and transport of these fuels.

Representatives of the maritime industry and governments participated to the roundtable, that has served as a platform for ministers to discuss and share their national level strategies and plans for decarbonising the shipping sector.

IRENA’s Director General, Francesco La Camera, highlighted the crucial role that hydrogen-based fuels can play in the successful decarbonisation of the shipping industry. Also, he stated that "The decarbonisation of this sector needs to have a collaborative approach, involving the global shipping industry, governments, and international organisations. The time to act is now and IRENA is ready to play its part and support our membership to materialise ambition into action”.  

During the roundtable was also discussed the role of ports in creating the necessary conditions to accelerate the demand for these fuels. As regards governments, they will need to play an instrumental role in decarbonising ports by investing in cleaner technologies. 

Tom HauteKiet, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, said 80% of the investment needed to realise the green energy transition in shipping will have to be made on the landside of shipping and that affects ports too. "One-way ports can impact the green shipping movement is by investing in decarbonising their own fleet of services and operational vessels", he added.


15-01-2023 – World’s first wind powered RoRo vessel gets €9 million in EU funding

Wallenius Wilhelmsen and other project partners have obtained a 9 million euro grant from Horizon Europe to support the construction of a RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) sailing vessel.

The grant is divided among eleven partners that will be in charge of planning, building, and operating a wind-powered vessel over the next five years. The eleven partners together represent a 360-degree perspective on wind propulsion – including weather routing, vessel design, supply chain orchestration and crew training to test rig installation on an existing vessel.

RoRo vessel

Roger Strevens, VP Global Sustainability at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, stated: “The Horizon Europe EU funding shows the concept stood up to the scrutiny of the EU funding authorities and that they had the confidence to give it their support”.

Orcelle wind will be a wind-powered Pure Car Truck Carrier of 220 meters, that will have a capacity for over 7,000 cars and will be capable of carrying breakbulk and rolling equipment. The RoRo vessel will be a crucial part of Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s fleet decarbonization strategy and the ambition is for it to start sailing in late 2026 or early 2027.   

The EU project represents an opportunity to combine the necessary investments in full-scale demonstration and data acquisition with advanced models and tools for wing propulsion vessels. An important part of the Horizon Europe funding project involves the installation of the wing sail test rig on an existing Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel during mid-2024. Oceanbird and Wallenius Wilhelmsen will present the test rig installation in a webcast on January 26.

Source: Wallenius Wilhelmsen


16.01.2022 – NIS 2 and CER Directive enter into force

On January 16, 2023, the Directive on measures for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union (the “NIS2 Directive”) and the Directive on the resilience of critical entities (“CER Directive”) entered into force. The NIS2 Directive repeals the current NIS Directive and creates a more extensive and harmonized set of rules on cybersecurity for organizations carrying out their activities within the European Union. The CER Directive repeals the European Critical Infrastructure Directive and brings with it new, stronger rules for the cyber and physical resilience of critical entities and networks. 

“Port facilities” and companies “operating works and equipment within ports” are mentioned in the NIS 2 Directive, meaning that companies in the port sector exceeding the ceiling of medium-sized companies need to comply with the technical, operational and organizational measures aimed at reducing cyber risks which are proscribed by the NIS 2 Directive. If certain additional criteria are met, also SMEs could be covered by NIS 2.

The CER Directive aims at strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure to a range of threats, including natural hazards, terrorist attacks, insider threats, or sabotage. These threats could of course also include a cyber component. The CER Directive applies to 11 sectors which have been deemed critical: energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructures, health, drinking water, wastewater, digital infrastructure, public administration, space and food.

Member states will need to have a national strategy to enhance the resilience of critical entities, carry out a risk assessment at least every four years and identify the critical entities that provide essential services.

Critical entities will need to identify the relevant risks that may significantly disrupt the provision of essential services, take appropriate measures to ensure their resilience and notify disruptive incidents to the competent authorities.


17-01-2023 – MEPs adopt stricter rules on revising EU shipments of waste

On the 17th of January, the European Parliament adopted its position regarding control measures for waste shipments pushing for tighter EU rules, with 549 votes in favour, 5 against and 43 abstentions.

The main purpose of the legislation is to protect the environment and human health more effectively, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by waste to pursue the EU’s objective of a circular and zero-pollution economy.

EP article

According to the adopted text, shipments of all waste intended for disposal within the EU are prohibited, unless permitted in limited and well-justified circumstances.  Moreover, EU exports of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries would also be forbidden. It will be allowed only to those non-OECD countries that give their consent and prove their ability to treat this waste in a sustainable manner. 

MEPs will therefore start negotiations with the EU Member States.

Source: European Parliament


17.01.2023 – President EU Commission announces “Net Zero Industry Act”

On the 17th of January, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen pointed to the EU’s plan, the “Green Deal Industrial Plan” which should “make Europe the home of clean tech and industrial innovation on the road to net zero”. The plan is based on four pillars: the regulatory environment, financing, skills and trade.

In order to stimulate the creation of a regulatory environment that allows for the creation of conducive conditions for sectors that are needed to reach net zero, the EU Commission will introduce a new “Net-Zero Industry Act” which will identify clear goals for European clean tech by 2030. A special focus will be on simplifying and fast-tracking permitting for new clean tech production sites and in parallel to the Net-Zero Industry Act, the Commission will reflect on how to make clean tech Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) easier to fund while allowing for simplified access for small businesses and Member States.

Von der Leyen also stated that the Commission will propose to temporarily adapt state aid rules and that stepping up EU funding is needed, in order to prevent fragmentation of the Single Market. Furthermore, for the medium-term, a “European Sovereignty Fund” will be prepared as part of the mid-term review of the EU budget later this year. This fund should boost the resources available for upstream research, innovation and strategic industrial projects needed to reach net zero.

Source: European Commission


24.01.2023 – OPS and EU funding webinar with CINEA

On the 23rd of January, experts from CINEA and BNP Paribas exchanged views on the topic of OPS funding. The webinar has been moderated by EOPSA (European Onshore Power Supply Association).           

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) are the key EU financing instruments which have been presented and explained during the webinar. The two main priorities in order for a project to be eligible are:

  1. Facilitation of port access (breakwaters, access channels, locks and navigational aids);
  2. Basic port infrastructure (quay walls, berths, jetties).
    - Zero or low emission solutions such as shore-side electricity and OPS, including for cruise ships, the upgrade of electrical grid and renewable energy generation for OPS or basic infrastructure.

The experts from BNP Paribas have subsequently pointed out the possible constraints related to the OPS, according to their point of view. For instance, some of the identified constraints are the numerous stakeholders involved or potentially interested, the uncertainty about electricity prices leading to uncertainty on projects profitability, the local availability of green power and the mix of public and private stakeholders with different agendas.

On the other hand, they have also underlined its opportunities, such as the port authorities’ interest to co-invest with private investors in part of the OPS infrastructure, the possibility to extend the scope of the OPS project to on-site green power generation and the fact that terminal concession holders are often owned or controlled by ship-owners, who are the ultimate beneficiaries and payers.

BNP Paribas is currently holding bilateral discussions with few identified stakeholders, to understand their respective interests and constraints and building several duplicable business models to facilitate the OPS rolling-out in European ports.

Finally, one of the solutions identified by the experts from BNP is to adapt OPS business cases to local situation. According to the experts, leasing is viewed as the best way to avoid the debt burden for stakeholders. The first option would be to lease financing with a single global power utility selected by the port authority and providing services directly to final users; the second option would be to lease financing directly involving the terminals, which will select themselves their power supplier and generate revenues out of OPS.


25.01.2023 – ITF Study on the potential of e-fuels to decarbonise ships and aircrafts

On 24th January, the International Transport Forum published a study on the potential of e-fuels to decarbonise long-haul aviation and maritime shipping. The report analyses how E-fuels - like hydrogen, ammonia, e-methanol or e-kerosene - can be produced from renewable energy and feedstocks in ways that are cheaper and maximise emissions cuts without direct electrification. The report also explores how to deploy e-fuels and how governments can assist in adopting low-carbon fuels.

The report recommends 1) to introduce carbon pricing - global or regionally - for shipping and aviation 2) to scale up the production of low-carbon e-fuels throughout targeted policies 3) to accelerate the deployment of electrolyser and renewable electricity generation capacity 4) to regulate the lifecycle emissions intensity of e-fuels, including non-CO2 emissions.

According to the authors of the report Andreas Kopf, Till Bunsen and Matteo CragliaIt reaching a significant level of e-fuels use will take at least a decade and will require solid policy support to reduce the price gap with conventional fossil fuels. E-fuels will likely remain a scarce resource in the medium term, that is why in the meantime both governments and companies should not neglect initiatives to reduce avoidable airline trips, improve the energy efficiency of shipping vessels and aircraft, and shift transport demand to more energy-efficient modes.

Source: ITF


25.01.2023 – ETF roundtable on “The Future for Transport”

On the 25th of January, FEPORT was invited to a roundtable organized by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF). The discussion involved speakers from the EU institutions and representatives from ETF. “The Future for Transport” and the mounting crises that has affected the transport sector and its workers over the past years was debated.

Although the Covid-19 crisis seems to be more or less in control in the EU, Europe is now facing the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which has severely impacted the transport sector, with many workers stranded and the necessity for humanitarian shipments and refugee transport needed and putting Ukrainian and international transport workers under tremendous pressure.

ETF roundtable copy    etf1

According to ETF, during summer there was a gradual return to normality, but chaos ensued in aviation: mass layoffs by the aviation industry, and its inability to attract workers, exacerbated the chronic shortage already present and intensified work in aviation for those remaining.

The entire transport sector is currently witnessing a similar situation, and as demand for services grow, worker shortages will only intensify as many workers reach retirement age while the sector remains unable to attract young and women workers.  

Therefore, ETF calls on policymakers to not only develop policy to relieve structural issues currently present in transport, but also engage to solve problems resulting from policies which lacked ambition.

The roundtable was attended by the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, and the European Parliament TRAN Committee coordinators Petar Vitanov (S&D), Ciaran Cuffe (Greens), Elena Kountoura (The Left) and Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP).

The representatives of the European Parliament and the European Commission emphasised the need to:

  • Improve working conditions in the transport sector, for instance by establishing a minimum wage, increasing salaries and guaranteeing better infrastructure and social protection especially for women;
  • Develop solid training programmes for workers to regularly upgrade their skills;
  • Ensure an easier access to become a transport worker, in particular to attract young people to work in the sector;
  • Harmonise working rules for the transport sector throughout the European Union.


Members' News Corner 

05.01.2023 – Luka Koper Container Terminal reaches 1 million TEU in 2022

Luka Koper Container Terminal has become the first port in the Adriatic to overcome 1 million TEU in one year.

Luka Koper

In the last two years the Koper Container terminal has seen an intensive investment period, with the new extension of the quayside and additional stacking areas, and in March 2022, the terminal set a new monthly record of 99,533 TEU handled, surpassing the previous record of March 2021.

President of the Management Board of Luka Koper, Boštjan Napast, claimed that this is an important milestone, especially considering the current global situation in logistics sector.

Further investments in the container sector include additional docks and stacking areas on the northern part of Pier I, purchase of additional shore cranes, extension of terminal’s rail yard, expansion of the terminal’s storage areas in the hinterland and the purchase of various handling equipment.

Moreover, in the middle of 2022, the Port of Koper completed the extension of the southern part of its Pier I, increasing the capacity of its marine terminal by 15 per cent.

The project is said to be valued at €45.6 million ($47.7 million) and a portion of the financing was secured within the EU project/NAPA4CORE/Connection Europe Facility.

Source: Port Technology


10.01.2023 – HHLA has commissioned Linde Engineering to build hydrogen filling station at Port of Hamburg

HHLA has commissioned Linde Engineering to build a hydrogen filling station as part of its Clean Port & Logistics innovation cluster.

The filling station, that is expected to be operational in 2023, will be a part of the test centre for hydrogen powered port logistics at the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) in the Port of Hamburg.

HHLA and Linde Engineering

The hydrogen filling station is being developed as part of HHLA’s Clean Port & Logistics cluster to fuel hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles and terminal equipment and to test them in operation.

The heart of the filling station is an energy-efficient high-pressure ionic compressor that compresses the hydrogen up to 450 bars, thus allowing equipment such as straddle carriers, empty container stackers, forklift trucks, reach stackers, terminal tractor units and trucks to be refuelled with hydrogen efficiently. 

Head of the HHLA Hydrogen Network, Dr Georg Böttner, stated: “With the construction of the filling station, the required infrastructure is now being created to speed up the transition to emissions free heavy goods logistics and port operations, and to drive forward the decarbonisation of logistics”.

The aim of the project is to examine how hydrogen can be used to reliably supply power to harbour technology and port logistics.

This is happening in Hamburg, at the HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort, where hydrogen-powered equipment can be tested on port management and heavy cargo operations.

Source: Port Technology


10.01.2023 – EUROGATE includes Wilhelmshaven in hinterland connections network

Wilhelmshaven, Germany’s only deep-water port, will be part of EUROGATE’s combined transport network starting from the 16th of January. Moreover, the company seeks to expand Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven (CTW)’s connections to Ulm, Mannheim and Frankfurt am  

Trains will operate with electric traction between the CTW and main German hinterland locations, thus upholding Wilhelmshaven’s sustainable goals, which also intends to expand its intermodal network in southern and western Germany in the coming months.

Moreover, according to EUROGATE Intermodal GmbH (EGIM), “the expansion of rail infrastructure between Wilhelmshaven and regions along the Rhine will further accelerate these developments and change the flow of cargo, as trains will be able to travel directly and efficiently to the quayside in Lower Saxony”.

The development of Wilhelmshaven’s intermodal network and the future possibilities are not restricted to EGIM’s new services. Indeed, more companies seem willing to include the deep-water port in their networks. For instance, TX Logistik, will also integrate Wilhelmshaven into its network and start transporting hinterland traffic from mid-January 2023 to Nuremberg and Kornwestheim. Like EGIM, the company is planning to add more connections by mid-2023.

Source: RailFreight


18.01.2023 – HHLA invests in the start-up “FERNRIDE” – joint pilot project in Estonia

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s innovation unit (HHLA Next), invested in a start-up with approximately 100 employees named “FERNRIDE” based in Munich, Germany. FERNRIDE’s innovative solution aims to advance automation and sustainability in logistics and to address the shortage of truck drivers.  

A pilot project will start in early 2023 at the HHLA TK Estonia terminal in Tallinn, representing the first FERNRIDE project at a container terminal. The project seeks to determine the technology's operational reliability in automated container handling and to validate the technology's viability for future business opportunities.

The technology developed by the start-up will equip trucks and tractors with sensors and cameras so that they can be remotely controlled via mobile networks. Thanks to this technology, truck drivers can be more flexibly deployed and work remotely, increasing both the attractiveness of the job profile and safety on the respective premises.

The CEO of FERNRIDE, Hendrik Kramer, stated: "HHLA is the perfect partner to use our platform for autonomous electric trucking in ports. The advantages of remote control can already be actively used by a part of the workforce within ports”.

Simone Lode, Managing Director of HHLA Next added: “At HHLA Next, we invest in digital and sustainable business models in maritime logistics. We see great potential in autonomous driving solutions, also because of the current lack of truck drivers. With FERNRIDE, we are investing in a company that has already implemented a viable solution with a partner network of respected companies from industry and logistics with very good results”.

Source: HHLA



FEPORT meetings

07.02.2023              Environment, Safety and Security Committee - Hybrid

14.02.2023              Social Affairs Committee - Hybrid

14.02.2023              Customs and Logistics Committee - Hybrid

16.02.2023              Board of Directors - In person

27.02.2023              Port Policy Committee - In person 

13.04.2023              Board of Directors - In person

                03.05.2023              Environment, Safety and Security Committee - In person

                04.05.2023              Port Policy Committee - In person 

                09.05.2023              Social Affairs Committee - In person 

                30.05.2023              Customs and Logistics Committee - Hybrid

                01-02.06.2023         FEPORT General Assembly - Arles Marseille

                21.09.2023               Board of Directors - In person

                26.09.2023               Customs and Logistics Committee - In person

                28.09.2023               Social Affairs Committee - In person 

                04.10.2023                Environment, Safety and Security Committee 

                05.10.2023                Port Policy Committee

                02.11.2023                Board of Directors


Institutional meetings

12.01.2023              ENVI Committee Meeting - Brussels 

23-24.01.2023         ITRE Committee Meeting - Brussels 

25.01.2023              REGI Committee Meeting - Brussels 

30-31.01.2023         TRAN Committee Meeting - Brussels 

06.02.2023              ITRE Committee Meeting - Brussels 

09.02.2023              TRAN Committee Meeting - Brussels 

                27-28.02.2023         REGI Committee Meeting - Brussels

                28.02.2023              Sectoral Social Dialogue for Ports - Brussels 


Other meetings and conferences 

07-08.03.2023       Maritime Anti-Corruption Netweork Conference - Hamburg 

15.03.2023              TIC 4.0 General Assembly Meeting - Hamburg 

16-19.03.2023         IMLI and DEHUKAM - international Symposium on the Legal Regime of Ports - Mersin - Turkey



FEPORT Newsletter - January 2023