FEPORT Manifesto 2019-2024


As a means to engage in a constructive dialogue with the newly elected MEPs and the new Commissioners who will have the task to propose and adopt legislation in the next five coming years, FEPORT members have adopted their Manifesto during their General Assembly held on June 14th, 2019 in Burgas (Bulgaria). The document highlights the main topics of crucial importance for the EU cargo handling industry which employs more than 390 000 port workers.

Private port companies and terminals are modernizing EU ports. They are innovating in processes, investing (56 billion Euros over the last ten years) in modern and green equipment, digitalization and IT solutions, artificial intelligence and the reskilling and upskilling of port workers.

The EU is facing big challenges: climate crisis, global demographics, re-alignment of international power and trade relations as well as internal cohesion.

For this reason, private port companies and terminals believe that growth, trade and competition (state aid, merger control and anti-trust) policies need to be rethought to enable EU companies to remain competitive in the multipolar world we are evolving in.

A strengthened coordination between transport, growth, competition and trade policies would be particularly welcome when dealing with third countries’ publicly subsidized companies investing in the EU while EU companies are struggling to enter the markets of those third countries.

Given the fact that more and more players within the maritime logistics chain are proposing door to door services, port companies and terminals call EU regulators to regularly assess whether support measures to a one sector of the maritime logistics chain are not distorting competition towards others players or facilitating vertical integration to the advantage of one industry in particular.

Benefits for customers and efficiency gains should remain the key drivers of consolidation or vertical integration.

“The review of the Consortia BER is a good example of a sectoral instrument that impacts well beyond the beneficiary industry. This is why it is essential that the Regulation is modified to bring more clarity and legal certainty for shipping lines, port service providers and cargo interests. The worst that could happen would be that DG Competition considers that there is no need to modify the Regulation because shipping freight rates are currently very low, due to overcapacity in the container market” said Mr Gunther Bonz, President of FEPORT.

“Such an approach would be harmful as it ignores the dynamics of the maritime logistics sector as well as other efficiency and reliability indicators”.

“Private port operators and terminals are among the service providers of the liner shipping industry. They need a level playing field when it comes to negotiating with their customers. Joint purchasing of port services by alliances benefiting from the Consortia BER should not be allowed as it creates an unbalanced situation in terms of negotiation” commented FEPORT president.

“The Consortia BER should not result in weakening the negotiation power of port service providers.

The current lack of clarity of the Consortia BER regarding the do’s and don’ts represents a threat and deserves attention from the Regulator. Cargo handling companies are not ancillary services but economic undertakings which create value and jobs and offer competitive global services” added Mr Bonz.

FEPORT members also call regulators to provide a clear framework on data ownership to facilitate data sharing and ensure a level playing field between the different actors of the maritime logistics chain.

The collective ambition of FEPORT members is to continue to contribute to the attractiveness of European ports and their strategic role for EU economies and local communities.

“We hope that the future strategy for the maritime logistics sector will echo the expectations we have expressed in this contribution and look forward to cooperating with the new elected MEPs, the new Commissioners and their staff” concluded FEPORT President, Mr Gunther Bonz.



We wish you a very nice summer and hope you will enjoy your vacation.

See you end of August 2019 for our July-August newsletter!



Fifth Annual Stakeholders’ Conference

Save the date Final



Best wishes for the future, Mr Fleckenstein!

After 10 years, the mandate of MEP Knut Fleckenstein will come to an end early July 2019.

Besides his role as a Member of the European Parliament, Mr Fleckenstein has also been a former vice-president of the S&D group, S&D spokesperson for foreign affairs and the Rapporteur for the Port Regulation.


FEPORT and its members have appreciated the cooperation with Mr Fleckenstein and his team and express their warm thanks to him.

During the legislative process that concerned the Port Services Regulation, MEP Fleckenstein practised active and inclusive listening in his role as Rapporteur. He did his best to overcome stereotypes and dogmatic approaches to the port sector and therefore acquired a thorough understanding of the dynamics that prevails within European ports.


The result of his work has been translated in a large part of the Port Services Regulation, a text that has been supported by the majority of port stakeholders.

It has been an honour and a pleasure to cooperate with MEP Fleckenstein and it is with a twinge of regret and a little bit of emotion that we shall tell him goodbye this last week of June 2019.

May the best winds accompany you Mr Fleckenstein!

Fleck 3


05.06.2019 - European Tugowners’ General Assembly - Limassol

The European Tugowners Association (ETA) celebrated its 56th Annual Meeting for the first time in Limassol, Cyprus,. More than 120 participants among ETA full and associate member delegates and guests attended the Annual Meeting.

ETA       ETA2

During their Annual meetings, ETA members discused the impact that shipping developments and EU policies have on the industry, in particular, the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation and its possible repeal and also approved the change in the chairmanship of the Association.

Mr Leendert Muller (Multraship Towage & Salvage) handed over the ETA baton to Kimmo Lehto (Alfons Håkans AS), who will be the new Chairman for the next two years term.

The Annual Meeting was followed by a Conference with speakers, ranging from representatives of the government of Cyprus as Deputy Minister for Shipping Mrs. Natasa Pilides, to the President of FEPORT, Günther Bonz.

Mr Günther Bonz, Feport President and Managing Director of Eurogate analysed in depth current challenges affecting ports and port services. He also addressed the review of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation and explained how the inclusion of a provision regarding the prohibition of joint purchasing of techno nautical and cargo handling services could restore a more balanced relationship between shipping lines and their port service providers.


ETA Annual meeting was also an important moment for the industry as a new video on safe and efficient harbour towage operations (please click here) was presented. The guidelines described in the video were defined in close collaboration with the European Maritime Pilots Association. The animation summarises the necessary steps that tugmasters, pilots and vessel captains should take in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of port towage operations.

The Annual Meeting events were concluded by a fantastic black tie Gala Dinner, which took place in a unique location, the Oenu Yi winery, towering over the Omodos valley.

Source: ETA and FEPORT


06.06.2019 - EU study on “Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport Externalities”

On the 6th of June, the European Commission published its study on “Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport Externalities.”

The results of the study are expected to be taken into account in the framework of the review of the “2011 Transport White Paper”, to be published end of 2020.

The objective of the study was to assess the extent to which existing policies internalise the external and infrastructure costs of various transport modes in Europe and to set out ways by which further internalisation can be achieved.

One of the main findings of the study is that the total external costs of all transport modes in EU28 are estimated at nearly €1 trillion annually, which is equivalent to 7% of EU’s GDP. In general, the most important cost category is accident costs equating to 29% of the total costs, followed by congestion costs (27%). Overall, environmental costs (climate change, air pollution, noise, well-to-tank and habitat damage) make up the remaining 44% of the total costs.

Road transport (and particularly passenger cars) is the largest contributor to external costs (83% of the total costs, €820 billion). The total external costs for rail transport and inland waterways (IWT) amount to €18 billion and €3 billion, respectively. Regarding aviation and maritime transport, the external costs in the EU28 are roughly estimated to be €48 and €98 billion. For freight transport, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) have the highest costs, followed by IWT, rail transport and maritime transport.

The results of the study demonstrate that the external and infrastructure costs of transport in the EU28 are only partly internalised. For most transport modes, only 15-25% of these costs are covered by revenues from current transport taxes and charges. There is also little evidence that marginal social cost pricing principles are applied on a large scale in transport pricing in the EU28. Finally, for most transport modes (except maritime transport and aviation) the infrastructure costs are not covered by infrastructure charges, reflecting that the ‘users-pays’ principle is often not met.


06.06.2019Trade Contact Group - Brussels

On June 06, FEPORT paritipcated in the 51st meeting of the Electronic Customs Coordination Group jointly with the Trade Contact Group. The Electronic Customs Coordination Group consists of national represenatives from all Member States and is reposinble for advising the European Commission on project scope, design, requirements and architecture of customs electronic systems. The Trade Contact Group consists of trade bodies involved in customs formalties, including FEPORT.

The 51st meeting of the Electronic Customs Coordination Group focused on the roll-out of IT systems related to the Union Customs Code. The meeting also included an exchange of how the Regulation creating a European Maritime Single Window Environment (EMSWe) will be aligned with ongoing customs initiatives.


12.06.2019Social Dialogue for Ports Meeting - Brussels

On June 12th, members of the European Social Dialogue for Ports Committee met in Brussels to discuss different topics on the agenda. Safety of work on board of ships as well as well as the draft Guidelines on fumigation have been commented by representatives from FEPORT, ETF IDC and ESPO.


The future work program of the SSDC for the two coming years will be agreed upon next Autumn.

ETF, FEPORT and ESPO decided to issue a joint system regarding the EU funded study on the current development in the maritime and port sector that has been finalized end of January 2019. The statement (see below) has been released on June 24th, 2019.


“Market based and technological developments in the shipping sector and technological innovation represent major challenges for the port sector” says an EU funded study

In June 2013, ETF, IDC, FEPORT and ESPO[1] established, with the support of the European Commission, the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for ports (SSDC for Ports).

In order to feed their discussions about the current challenges faced by the port sector, ETF, IDC, FEPORT have requested and obtained funding from DG Employment to commission a study about the socio-economic impact of technological innovation and market-based developments in shipping on the port sector.

The study was finalized end of January 2019 and contains interesting and well documented insights about the impact of current developments in the shipping sector as well as the use of new technologies.

The on-field part of the study has allowed the consultants to see that innovation at terminals is a reality which materializes through investments in ICT and communication systems to improve port operations. It was observed that he processes related to gate operations, the stacking yard and hinterland connections are projected to develop automated features first, whereas the automation of STS gantry cranes and horizontal transportation on the terminal might need more evidence for being financially beneficial investments.

Aside from the terminal operations, the hinterland connections are strongly impacted by the capacity peaks on the terminal as well as inland transport restrictions (e.g., gate opening hours) and vertical integration of terminals and logistics. The operational peaks and the construction of modern integrated supply-chains place great demands upon the flexibility of ports and terminals by cargo interests and shipping lines to handle cargo flows.

The study shows that container terminal operators and their employees are evolving in a highly competitive environment and have deployed tremendous efforts to adapt their terminals to the ever-growing size of vessels and its cascading effects.

Already for some decades, the dynamics in the shipping industry are driven by the principle of economies of scale with the objective to reduce the cost per unit. These dynamics result in a shift of costs on other actors of the maritime logistics chain such as terminal operators who need to invest in equipment.

Due to the fact that alliances operating ultra large container ships have rationalized their rotations and decreased the number of port calls, terminals face difficulties to get a return on investment for their new equipment. In turn, employees face downward pressure on their working conditions.

Adaptation concerns adjustments in the operating assets and processes on container terminals but also port labour which must adapt to the alternation of peaks and low periods of activity while being constantly required to improve productivity.

Terminal operations are also requiring new skills and important amounts of investments in training. To accompany similar initiatives that are already taking place at national level, social partners are keen to engage in projects that would help identify what are the jobs that will be needed in the future in European ports.

This study constitutes an insightful snapshot regarding the situation that prevails in container ports and highlights the fact that adaptation to market development and technological innovation requires major investments in equipment, solutions as well as continuous reskilling and upskilling of ports workers. However, we still need to fine tune our understanding about the skills needed in the future and therefore believe that another EU funded study further looking into the new jobs will be helpful for the discussions we shall have” Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, FEPORT – Secretary General.

The study draws a good picture of the developments in the shipping sector impacting port operations and labour, as well as technological developments within the ports. We now need to assess what these developments mean more concretely in terms of future job profiles. In order to make a comprehensive assessment, we should see this together with the other societal, geopolitical and environmental challenges impacting ports within the wider logistics chain” Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General.

This study is the first-ever attempt to look at how the technological and business choices made by shipping companies is impacting ships’ main service providers: the terminals and their employees. We look forward to deepening the results of the study in the near future, so as to get sound empirical evidence of this preliminary project. But the trend is clear. Terminals are required by their customers to invest more and more often but due to the game of the alliances they do not get certainty on the return of their investments. This has destabilising effect on the workforce, as it can have repercussion on job stability, safety and working conditions in general. We believe it is high-time for shipping lines to open discussions with the other actors of the maritime transport chain, including port workers. The study did not put forward evidence that all these huge investments give the guarantee that the cargo handling services will be more efficient and cheaper and that it fulfils the needs of the shipping industry such as fast turnaround time” said Livia Spera, ETF Acting General Secretary.


18-19.06.2019 - Digital Transport and Logistics - Brussels

On 18 June, FEPORT participated in a Sub-group 2 (corridor information systems) meeting of the DTLF (Digital Transport and Logistics Forum) and, on 19 June, in the Plenary meeting of the DTLF.

The DTLF is forum established by the European Commission that brings together stakeholders from different transport and logistics communities, from both the private and the public sector, with a view to build a common vision and road map for digital transport and logistics. The sub-group meeting focused on how to organise the work of the sub-group so as to ensure that the sub-group can work on issues that have a tangiable added value to logistics.

The Plenary discussed the wider work of the Forum. In particular, the Plenary focused on updates of the work of the DTLF sub-groups as well as the organisation and operations of the sub-group. FEPORT supports the DTLF’s objective to facilitiate the uptake of digital solutions in transport and the creation of a truly interoperable European transport environment.


18.06.2019 - TIC 4.0 now on track ! - TOC Conference - Rotterdam

Executives from the container terminal industry and the wider container supply chain gatehred in Rotterdam from 18th to 20th of June at TOC Europe, the leading conference and trade fair for anyone involved in the business of lifting, moving and monitoring containers.


The TECH TOC stream of the conference focused on container terminal operations. Paul Avery (Container Management) moderated a session on the TIC 4.0 initiative which aims at defining standards for Industry 4.0.

FEPORT Secretary General, Ms Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid was invited to speak during the session dedicated to TIC 4.0 together with Mr Frank Kho, coordinator, Ms Luisa Kempf, Site Director Technical Services, Eurogate Terminal Hamburg and Mr Ottonal Popesco, PEMA Chairman.

All participants provided updates about the major steps that have been achieved so far within TIC 4.0 and the objectives for the coming months.


FEPORT Secretary General also explained how FEPORT has supported the request for EU funding that some of TIC 4.0 members have applied for (see later in this newsletter: iTerminals project).

Responding to a question from the moderator regarding other recent digital initiaves from other parties of the logistics chain, Ms Kerdjoudj-Belkaid said: “It is great to see that horizontal and vertical digital cooperation is becoming a priority for many actors of the maritime logitics chain. What will be important though is that the regulators provide a clear framework on data ownership to facilitate data sharing and ensure a level playing field between the different actors of the maritime logistics chain”.


21.06.2019 - Motorways of the Sea Forum - Brussels

On 21 June, FEPORT particiapted in a Motorways of the Sea Forum meeting on “Motorways of the Sea: Today and Tomorrow”. The Motorways of the Sea initiative was established by the European Commission and aims to introduce new intermodal maritime-based logistics chains in Europe, which should improve European transport organisation within the years to come. These chains are intended to be more sustainable, and should be commercially more efficient than road-only transport.


FEPORT was invited to speak on a panel on “Maritime links and connection to the hinterland” and stressed that it has to be accepted that, to date, European initiatives have not been successful in achieving modal shift.

In this regard, FEPORT underlined the necessity for the MoS initiative to push for an enhanced connectivity for European ports (i.e. good hinterland connections for rail and inland waterways).

FEPORT also mentioned that there is a need to facilitate the uptake of digital technologies in logistics. Where possible, MoS should draw inspiration from the work of the DTLF which deals with digitalisation in transport.


21.06.2019 - Platform for Change - Women in Transport - Brussels

As a member of the Platform for Change, FEPORT participated to the meeting of Women in Transport that took place on the 21st of June.

Launched on 27 November 2017, this Platform aims to boost women's employment in the transport sector and to encourage equal opportunities for women and men. The Platform allows its members to discuss and exchange about good practices.

During the meeting, some members’ actions such as Aviadoras’ Mentoring program were presented.

From our side, FEPORT presented the Respect Campaign that was launched in the Port of Antwerp in November 2018.

She gets the job donepdf

The Campaign is the result of a joint work between CEPA (port emplyers in the port of Antwerp as well as ETF’s Women Committee). It aimed at raising awareness among male dockers about the necessity to establish a positive atmosphere not only towards female dockers, but for everyone in the workplace.

With the slogans Male or female, young or old, black or white, day or night: we’re a strong team with respect for diversity! and She gets the job done!, the campaign promotes diversity and at the same time to increase the number of women dockers.

By tackling different targets groups - i.e. age, colour, shift, etc. –, the campaign was conceived to convey a positive message, avoiding the victimisation of female workers.

The positive approach of the campaign was appreciated by the members of the Platform.


27.06.2019 - Kick off meeting for the EU funded project “iTerminals” - Valencia

Further to discussions that have been coordinated by the Foundation of the Port of Valencia and involved a number of members of Terminals Industry Committee 4.0 (TIC 4.0), some comapnies have decided to apply for EU funding and to present a project “iTerminals 4.0” : “Application of Industry 4.0 Technologies towards Digital Port Container Terminals- iTerminals 4.0”.

The project which is also supported by FEPORT and PEMA has been selected by the European Commission.

Concrete work on “iTerminals 4.0” with the efficient technical assistance of the Foundation of the Port of Valencia has now started with a kick-off meeting, held in Valencia, which gathered all participants to the project. The project will last until end of 2021.


Public consultation on TEN-T Guidelines

The European Commission has recently opened a public stakeholder consultation in the context of its evaluation of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Guidelines (Regulation 1315/2013).

Regulation 1315/2013 was adopted in 2013 and renewed the TEN-T framework by introducing a network approach to TEN-T policy with different layers (core and comprehensive network layers), infrastructure standards, and requirements for smart, innovative and more efficient infrastructure management. While the Regulation has been implemented over the past five years, the Commission is undertaking an evaluation to determine to what extent the Regulation has been relevant/effective/efficient, to what extent it has contributed to the TEN-T policy more generally, and how it relates to other policy areas such as decarbonisation and digitalisation. 

Ongoing developments in the transport sector are also a reason for the Commission to reassess the TEN-T guidelines at this stage, such as changing direction and volume of global transport flows; interconnection between modes of transport and with energy and telco networks; decarbonisation of transport systems; or a need to improve military mobility.

FEPORT will respond to the public consultation which runs until the 17th of July 2019. 


2019 European Parliament and new steps

New EP

The 2019 European Elections marked a huge change for the EU and for its institutions. For the first time, the EPP and S&D Groups will probably not be able to form a “grand coalition” representing a super majority in the 2019-2024 European Parliament.

FEPORT is looking forward to cooperating with the new elected MEPs and their staff and hope that the priorities for the private port companies and terminals as expressed in its Manifesto will find an echo within the relevant European parliamentary committees.



Events supported by FEPORT


ICHCA 20 20

Shippers, carriers, ports and terminals, inland operators, regulators, researchers, educators, NGOs, equipment, technology, service providers and all those concerned with the safety, security and sustainability of cargo operations on land and at sea are invited to join ICHCA in the Mediterranean hub port of Malta this 11-14 November to help shape the future.



FEPORT meetings

19.09.2019          Board of Directors – Brussels

30.09.2019          Social Affairs Committee – Brussels

01.10.2019          Environment, Safety & Security Committee – Brussels

24.10.2019          Port Policy Committee - Brussels

06.11.2019          Customs & Logistics Committee - Brussels

14.11.2019          Board of Directors - Brussels

27.11.2019          General Assembly - Brussels

28.11.2019          Fifth Annual Stakeholders Conference – Brussels


Other meetings

08.07.2019          ALICE Plenary Meeting – London

08.07.2019          HLSG on Single Window – Brussels

24-25.07.2019     European Parliament TRAN Commiettee – Brussels

25.09.2019          ELP Event on Logistics – Brussels

07-09.10.2019     Digital Transport Days – Helsinki

08-10.10.2019     PEMA AGM – Marseille

18.10.2019          Social Dialogue for Ports Meeting – Brussels

23.10.2019          EFIP Anniversary – Strasbourg

12-15.11.2019     ICHCA Conference - Malta

19-20.11.2019     ENMC Meeting – Rome

02.12.2019            EU Transport Council – Brussels


FEPORT Newsletter - June 2019