Women in ports: more ambition needed! 

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On the 18th of May, on the occasion of the international day for women in maritime, FEPORT participated to a very interesting conference organized by the Municipality of Livorno with RETE, the University of Pisa and CNR-IRISS dedicated to the important topic of women in maritime and ports. The conference was entitled: “Women in the maritime and port sector, why not?”.

According to an UNCTAD port performance scorecard, women’s participation rate in ports is only 18%. Their participation in ports’ operations and services departments is even lower at 16%. And this is a pity in 2023.

Port stakeholders are under increasing pressure to better contribute to the economic, environmental, and social sustainability. This implies investments in new technologies and use of renewable energy sources but also more action in the field of social responsibility.

A social issue that has not yet received attention from all stakeholders in the framework of social responsibility is gender equality, which is key for achieving sustainability. And although the promotion of female employment is included in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue between port workers and their employers, the percentage of women in ports is still quite low, where women make up only an estimated 2% of the world's maritime workforce according to the International Transport Federation.

 “Sustainable work” has to facilitate mixed work options for women and men and two key areas that port stakeholder must improve, in order to achieve gender equality, are gender segregation, and gender equity.

Gender segregation refers to the patterns of representation of women and men, for example in the labour market. Gender segregation is the root cause of gender inequality. Traditional gender segregation, due to social norms on the jobs considered to be appropriate for each gender, is still predominant.

At an industrial level, some of the male-dominated industries are: financial markets; computer games; construction; design; forestry; but also the port industry.

A number of government efforts materializing in gender equality laws serve as a starting point in reducing gender segregation and improving existing work environments. However, more thorough actions are needed to reduce access barriers to jobs and to help retain the under-represented gender.

Gender equity is the other means ensuring fairness to women and men, as well as to the strategies and measures needed to compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages, and it is instrumental in achieving “gender equality”. Without equal opportunities for men and women, gender equality cannot be reached.

Within ports, research on gender equality should focus on more than gender discrimination and sexual harassment. It should look at the effects of empowerment of women in maritime sector; gender equality in terms of maritime education and training; potential challenges, barriers and opportunities for women’s employment in the maritime industry; and work-life balance of women in the labour force in the maritime sector as these are the are the progresses which will speed us up the process of inclusion of women in ports and in the maritime sector in general.



03.05.2023 – FEPORT provides feedback to the Commission proposal for a Delegated regulation amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2139 - Brussels 

On the 3rd of May, FEPORT responded to the call for feedback to the Commission amendment proposal to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2139 (DA II)  supplementing Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing the technical screening criteria for determining the conditions under which an economic activity qualifies as contributing substantially to climate change mitigation or climate change adaptation and for determining whether that economic activity causes no significant harm to any of the other environmental objectives, welcoming the inclusion in the technical screening criteria of terminal infrastructure and superstructure used for the transhipment of freight between transport modes.

However, in order to further incentivize investments into green cargo handling solutions that allow the transhipment between maritime and clean hinterland transport modes, FEPORT suggested to not only include port infra- and superstructure in DA II, but to also explicitly refer to the activity of cargo handling itself including the right NACE-code.

In its contribution, FEPORT also pointed to the importance of dredging when it comes to ensuring port connectivity and a functional management of Europe’s waterways as well as to the need for consistency between the reduction pathways included in FuelEU Maritime and the EU taxonomy.

For more information, please see here for FEPORT’s submission.



03.05.2023 – European Logistics Platform event on zero-emission freight transport along the TEN-T network - Brussels 

logo ELP

On the 3rd of May, 2023, the European Logistics Platform (ELP) held in Brussels an event that gathered EU policymakers and industry stakeholders to discuss about the need to accelerate the transformation of freight transport in Europe. With the adoption of the AFIR and negotiations ongoing on the TEN-T network, securing renewable energy supplies and grid infrastructure is crucial, especially considering the targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure along the roads, urban nodes and ports.

MEP Henna Virkkunen emphasised that sustainable transport infrastructure is essential to reach the EU’s climate targets, while maintaining a technology-neutral approach. Ms Virkkunen welcomed the recent adoption of the Parliament’s position on the TEN-T Regulation, stressing that all major infrastructure projects should be finalised by 2030 on the core network, and 2040 on the comprehensive network. She also highlighted that the recent agreement on the AFIR with the Council is a good step forward to provide the minimum alternative fuels infrastructure but will require strong and rapid investments to meet the targets. Finally, Ms Virkkunen reminded participants that small players should not be left behind in this transition towards zero-emission freight transport: EU and national funding instruments should help these actors to make the necessary investments.

Lorenzo Lerra, X-Regional Energy Sourcing Manager at DPDHL Group highlighted that bridging technologies such as biofuels in long-haul road transport will be needed in the short to medium term to achieve the decarbonisation goals as real “zero-emission technologies” for this type of operations are not yet fully available. Electrification of the truck fleet require a significant increase of electricity consumption, especially when the vast majority of trucks will charge at DPDHL sites.

Aral Voskamp, Project Lead Sustainable Mobility at Port of Rotterdam gave insight into the port’s initiatives in support of electrification of heavy-duty road transport. The ambition of the Port of Rotterdam is to build 3 to 6 charging hubs for electric trucks in the port – the first is expected to be completed this year – with a total capacity between 30-70 MW. He underlined the importance of public investments to prioritise connections according to future projects, as well as regulatory changes.

Finally, Axel Volkery, Deputy Head of Unit – Sustainable & Intelligent Transport at DG MOVE stated that the Commission’s objective is to accelerate the ramp-up of all sustainable alternative fuels, regardless of technologies or modes of transport. He noted that the main objective of the recently agreed AFIR is to ensure a minimum of sufficient publicly accessible charging/refuelling infrastructure to allow transport operations to take place everywhere in Europe. The market would then complement the network where the demand is needed. Mr Volkery referred to the important role of recent Commission proposals such as the Net Zero Industry Act or the proposal for the revision of electricity market design rules which could channel investments towards grid infrastructure upgrading.

Source: European Logistics Platform



05.05.2023 –  MOVE debrief & exchange of views on Central Asia transport connections study  - Brussels

On the 5th of May 2023, the European Commission presented its study on sustainable transport connections between Central Asia and the EU’s TEN-T that covers the 27 Member States, the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership countries and Turkey, implemented between 2021 and 2023.

The study has two objectives: 

  1. To identify the most sustainable transport corridors connecting the five Central Asian republics with the EU’s extended Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), following corridor assessment based on strict sustainability criteria (environmental, social, economic, fiscal, political) and consultations with stakeholders.
  2. To propose key actions for corridor development, in terms of both physical infrastructure (hard connectivity) and enabling environment (soft connectivity), including their prioritisation based on a coherent and sustainable transport corridor development approach.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) conducted two rounds of stakeholder consultations in the region, visiting all the five Central Asian countries, and held numerous exchanges with stakeholders in person and/or virtually throughout the implementation period.

The EBRD developed a multi-criteria assessment framework to assess sustainability of transport connections addressing all aspects of sustainability, such as environmental and social impact, financial viability.

As a result of the study, it has been identified a regional network of connections that includes the main economic and production centres, largest cities (population) and that covers all the five Central Asian countries (catchment area approach) as the most sustainable connection between Europe (extended TEN-T) and Central Asia.

Moreover, a long list of investment needs across the selected network was pointed out, divided into short/medium/long-term priorities and presented for each country according to its specific situation, needs and capacities.



10.05.2023 – UNESCAP–UNECE –ICC – WCO – ADB Webinar on Advancing Single Window Development: latest trends and implications - Brussels

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On the 10th of May, 2023, FEPORT attended a webinar on Advancing Single Window Development which was organized by UNESCAP, UNECE, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The webinar was organized against the backdrop of the amendments to the Facilitation (FAL) convention which makes a single window for data exchange mandatory in ports worldwide as well as the recent adoption of the EU Single Window Environment for Customs which entered into force in December 2022.

The webinar included a presentation from Mr. Zahouani Saadaoui, Head of Sector Digital Customs at DG TAXUD, who briefed the participants about the EU Single Window Environment for Customs which should create interoperability between the IT systems used by customs and other non-customs competent authorities.

Mr. Arne Mielken, Managing Director of Customs Manager Ltd, underlined the importance of consultation with the trade community and in this respect pointed to the crucial role played by consultation bodies such as the Trade Contact Group (TCG) where the trade community is consulted by policy makers on, among others, issues related to the EU Customs Single Window. He also expressed that, from a business point of view, customs single windows should be user-centric and have business and trade facilitation as their first objective.



16.05.2023 – DNV workshop on clean energy management models in EU ports - Brussels

On the 16th of May 2023, FEPORT has been invited to contribute to a workshop organized by DNV regarding “Barriers to European Port Decarbonisation”. 

Mr Maarten Boot, Policy Advisor at FEPORT indicated that barriers to port decarbonisation can be due to a lack of binding requirements in legislation. For instance, in FuelEU Maritime, the use of onshore power supply will not compulsory as another zero-emission technology to accomplish zero emissions at berth will also be allowed. Therefore, one can expect some reluctance from private investors actors to invest in OPS if there is no certainty on return on investment. 

Another significant barrier is the rise in energy prices. A survey among FEPORT members has indicated that prices of electricity have hiked to more than prices of fuel.  

Terminal operators who have always been very proactive in greening their equipment (using for instance electric batteries) are currently disincentivised from doing so. It is a pity that no common EU solutions has not been found to support industries confronted to the electricity prices’ increase.

The profile of ports will tremendously change in the coming years as many of them aim to become clean energy hubs. But to reach this objective, issues such as the supply and storage of hydrogen should become a priority.

Some FEPORT members have started pilots with the use of dual fuel port equipment (straddle carriers) and already in the near future plan to increase the use of such equipment and also use hydrogen for other kinds of equipment (e.g.: terminal tractors and reach stackers). 

However, when the use of hydrogen by terminal operators will scale up, availability in the port will also become a challenge, as hydrogen demand will also coincide with the one emanating from other actors present in the port (ships, trucks, etc.). 

Supply of hydrogen will be crucial as will be the permitting procedures applicable to requests of extension of storage areas needed by terminal operators using or supplying hydrogen.  



17.05.2023 – ERFA Press Release - Trialogue Agreement on TEN-T must reflect Rail Freight Growth Targets - Brussels


The European Union has established a target of growing rail freight by 50% by 2030 and doubling volumes by 2050. To double volumes by 2050, it will be essential that a long-term and ambitious infrastructure development strategy is agreed upon during the TEN-T trialogue negotiations between the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council. ERFA, representing private and independent rail freight companies, has established a position outlining the key deliverables which should be secured.             

Firstly, infrastructure parameters must be clear and deployment plans must provide certainty. The European Union should strive for allowing minimum train runs of 740 meters along corridors without exception. The introduction of any exceptions will impact upon the ability of longer trains to operate freely throughout the European Union.            

Secondly, the number of freight trains which can run on a corridor per hour should be linked to the growth targets set out for rail freight in the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. The role of the TEN-T Regulation is not to define in detail how this should be achieved, but rather to ensure the infrastructure is developed to allow for such traffic.

Thirdly, there is a need to accept that the current ERTMS deployment strategy, both onboard and trackside, is not proceeding as planned. A new approach is required which ensures a synchronized strategy towards trackside and onboard ERTMS deployment.  

You can download ERFA position paper here.

 Source: ERFA


17.05.2023 – Commission proposes EU Customs Reform - Brussels

On the 17th of May, 2023, the EU Commission put forward a comprehensive reform plan for the EU Customs which lays down a data-driven for customs aimed at simplifying customs processes business, especially for the most trustworthy traders.

The UCC reform is a response to the current pressures faced by EU Member States’ customs authorities as a consequence of huge increase in trade volumes (especially e-commerce) in a context where geopolitical realities are shifting and growing number of EU standards need to be checked at the border.

The reform package features the creation of an EU Customs Authority which shall perform Union-level risk management activities and assist the Commission in defining common priority control areas and common risk criteria.

This new EU Customs Authority will oversee the EU Customs Data Hub which will replace existing national customs IT infrastructure. This should allow businesses to only interact with one portal when submitting their customs information. The Customs Data Hub’s aim is to provide customs authorities with 360-degree overview of supply chains and the movement of goods.

Another feature of the reform proposal is the introduction of a new partnership with business including the addition of “Trust and Check” traders’ category which strengthens the existing AEO programme.

Source: European Commission



18.05.2023 – Women in the maritime and port sector, why not? - Livorno

FEPORT participated to a conference organized by the Municipality of Livorno with RETE, the University of Pisa and CNR-IRISS. The conference was entitled: “Women in the maritime and port sector, why not?”.

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During the panel discussion on bridging the gender gap which included Mr Zeno d’Agostino, President of ESPO, Ms Nicolette Van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT, Ms Teofila Martinez, President of RETE, Ms Berardina Tommasi, Policy Officer at ETF, and Beatrice Berti, Policy Advisor in charge of the Social Affairs Committee at FEPORT, presented some initiatives currently aiming at promoting the inclusion of women in ports.

While this topic is a recurrent one in the framework of the European Social Dialogue for Ports, Ms Berti explained that FEPORT members are also active in promoting gender equality. Their priorities with respect to women inclusion in ports include

  • Increasing the representation of women in leadership positions is an important aspect of the inclusion of women in the port sector.
  • Training and skills development: in particular, role models and mentoring are crucial and should be promoted within companies.
  • Promote education and training, encouraging young girls and women to pursue education and training in port-related fields.
  • Create equal job opportunities: ensure that job opportunities in the port sector are accessible to both men and women. Equal pay is also a solid argument for attracting more women in ports and improving the image of the port sector.
  • Data collection and monitoring: collect and analyse data to better identify where the gender gap exists and why and whether it decreases through time.
  • Raising awareness among stakeholders - public and private - of the importance of gender equality in the port sector.



23.05.2023 ERFA event on navigating infrastructure development and growing rail freight in Europe  – Brussels

ERFA event

On the 23rd of May, FEPORT has the opportunity to attend the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) event in Brussels. The conference focussed on the need to strike a better balance between extensive work on the European railway network and the need to ensure sufficient quantity and quality of capacity for rail freight transport.

The panel discussion involved several speakers:

  • Kristian Schmidt - Director for Land Transport at DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE), European Commission
  • Mauro Pessano - CEO of Captrain Italia
  • Michail Stahlhut - CEO of Hupac 
  • Oliver Sellnick - Vice President for European Corridors and Cooperations, DB Netz

During the debate, the need to ensure both modal shift targets set out in the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy as well as the necessity to adopt a balanced approach between works management and capacity management were emphasized.

Given that over 50% of rail freight volumes cross at least one national border, it is critical that this is carried out in a coordinated manner between infrastructure managers across all corridors.

Moreover, it was suggested that infrastructure managers implement a system that allows for more alternatives of international capacities to be available in the event of restrictions in the EU.

In order to maximise the possibilities for rerouting, some speakers evoked the need for that infrastructure managers to assess the possibility of using capacity in neighbouring Member States. Some of the panellists also called the European Commission to evaluate the possibility of granting exemptions in European legislation (Drivers directive, authorisation of railway vehicles) to allow rail freight transport to use the infrastructure in neighbouring Member States in the case of international diversion, provided that the competent national safety authorities consider this to be safe and that the driver has sufficient knowledge of routes.



Member’s News Corner


11.05.2023 – First e-straddle carrier arrives in Antwerp

The joint 'Green Straddle Carrier' programme initiated by MSC PSA European Terminal, between Antwerp Terminal Services and PSA Antwerp, has included the new launch of an all-electric straddle carrier that debuted in the port of Antwerp.

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The e-straddle carrier operates with 100% battery power and takes 90 minutes to fully recharge, so it plays an important role in reducing the terminal's greenhouse gas emissions.

At the moment, PSA terminals in Belgium buy electricity from renewable sources, which is why no greenhouse gases are produced during energy production to power the e-straddle carriers.

Over the coming months, MSC PSA European Terminal will evaluate the e-straddle carrier’s performance in live operations.

During this trial period, it will be evaluated how to improve the equipment and how to develop this technology, e.g. how to optimise the recharging of a larger fleet and the possibility of safely and effectively progressing to full scale operations.

The final results of the study of the mentioned programme, 'Green Straddle Carrier', will decide which technology will be chosen to satisfy future energy needs.

Source: Port Technology



12.05.2023 –  HHLA presents innovative logistics solutions at transport logistic trade fair - Hamburg

HHLA, during the world's largest logistics fair, presented its subsidiaries and innovative solutions that focus on making logistics sustainable.

Among the solutions are climate-neutral transport with the HHLA Pure product, the use of automated trucks in handling, and the use of artificial intelligence and big data analysis for optimal planning and control of freight transport.

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Furthermore, this year HHLA offered its visitors a broad programme for exchange and networking with its experts, who presented the company’s innovative products, systems and technologies during “HHLA Business Talks”. Experts from HHLA and its subsidiaries shared their expertise on subjects from hydrogen to drones to artificial intelligence in logistics.

Source: HHLA




Events supported by FEPORT


31.05.2023 – European Environmental Ports Conference 2023 - Valencia



13-15.06.2023 – TOC Europe 2023, Rotterdam

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15.06.2023 – YILPORT Webinar “A New Corridor to Europe from Central Med”, Taranto

Evento Ylport


FEPORT meetings

01-02.06.2023            FEPORT GA – Saintes Maries de la Mer

15.06.2023                 Social Affairs Committee

21.09.2023                 Board of Directors

26.09.2023                 Customs and Logistics Committee

28.09.2023                 Social Affairs Committee

04.10.2023                 Environment, Safety and Security Committee

05.10.2023                 Port Policy Committee

02.11.2023                 Board of Directors


Institutional meetings

05.06.2023                   ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

12.06.2023                   ITRE Committee Meeting – Brussels

26-27.06.2023              TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels

        27.06.2023                   REGI Committee Meeting – Brussels

03.07.2023                  Sectoral Social Dialogue for Ports

09.11.2023                   Sectoral Social Dialogue for Ports



Other meetings and conferences

       31-01.05.2023         European Environmental Port Conference 2023 – Valencia

       13-15.06.2023         TOC Europe 2023 - Rotterdam

       15.06.2023              A New Corridor to Europe from Central – YILPORT Taranto

       14-16.06.2023         ETA General Assembly Meeting - Alicante


FEPORT Newsletter - May 2023