About the need for intellectual honesty and academic neutrality


Facts and figures are stubborn, and their merit is to offer good insights into a topic, a reality, or a phenomenon. This is why many experts and academics legitimate their views by providing objective and neutral comments regarding those facts and figures.

The world we are living in and the tensions that are currently spreading in our societies - notably due to the COVID-19 crisis - require wisdom and a preservation of general interest. Lobbies are by nature promoting private interests. Hence the importance of scientific and fact-based analyses that are needed to learn lessons and to avoid the persistence of harmful strategies or choices.

Private industry strategies are primarily naturally focusing on profitability and it is the role of regulators to privilege neutral assessments when evaluating their policies or adjusting them. Regulators’ decisions to support industries should result from cost-benefit analyses and their expectations should be proportionate to the public support (under the form of State Aid, tax breaks, subsidies, or grants, etc…) they allocate to those industries.

It is regrettable to hear or read biased views from few specialized commentators who are either too cautious or reluctant to provide objective analyses on the real causes of disruption in the maritime logistics chain over the last 12 months, or on the implications of the recent incident in the Suez Canal. One may wonder what is behind their reluctance...

For few specialized commentators, news and articles regarding developments in the maritime sector are often subject to the rule “who is not with me is against me”. The result is the prevalence of “mainstream thinking” that looks more like professional “story telling” rather than objective analyses.

Hence, the importance of real experts, neutral academics, professional consultants, and representatives of international institutional bodies who really investigate, raise all relevant questions without any taboos and draw fact-based conclusions.

Therefore, if we could understand to some extent the effects of a kind of “Stockholm syndrome” and/or the pressure driving few specialized commentators and observers of the maritime industry to always tell/promote the “same version of the story”, biased conclusions from academics or public institutions’ representatives seriously throw shade on their legitimacy. Aren’t we entitled to expect from them intellectual honesty and/or academic neutrality?


23-26.02.2021 – Sustainable Finance Platform Webinar on Social taxonomy

Between the 23rd and the 26th of February, the European Platform on Sustainable Finance – which advises the EU Commission on the development of taxonomy criteria – organized a series of webinars.

 sustainable finance platform

The main goal of the EU Taxonomy Regulation is to establish an EU-wide classification system that provides clarity regarding which investments and economic activities can be regarded as sustainable and which not. The EU Taxonomy mainly focusses on environmental sustainability, but also on the social aspect, which was discussed during the webinar.

Participants were informed that a draft report on the social taxonomy will be published in Q2 2021, with a public consultation on the report expected to open in the third quarter of this year.

It was explained that the structure of the social taxonomy is still being discussed, but that the preliminary idea of the responsible subgroup within the Sustainable Finance Platform is to build the social taxonomy upon three pillars: respect for Human Rights, governance and promoting adequate living conditions for all.

Under the Human Rights pillar, the impact of economic activities and investments on workers, consumers and communities will be assessed. Objectives under this pillar could also relate to social dialogue, health and safety as well as skills and life-long learning. The governance pillar could include issues such as anti-bribery, tax compliance and responsible lobbying, while the third pillar regarding the promotion of adequate living conditions for all could be linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


24.02.2021 – Webinar on extending the taxonomy beyond green activities

On the 24th of February, FEPORT attended a webinar of subgroup 3 of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, which looked into the development of taxonomy criteria beyond green activities.

Specifically, this subgroup will deliver a report assessing the possibility of developing a Taxonomy for economic activities that significantly harm (SH) environmental sustainability or have no significant impact (NSI) on environmental sustainability. Subgroup 3 will advise on whether and how the taxonomy framework should be extended to cover such economic activities.

During the presentation, participants were given to understand that the taxonomy criteria will evolve over time and that the definitions applying to activities making a substantial contribution to environmental sustainability will become more demanding, in accordance with the EU´s enhanced climate ambition. In the same line, an increasing number of economic activities will end up being qualified as significantly harmful as we approach 2050.

Like many other sister associations from the maritime sector, FEPORT regrets that the waterborne stakeholders are not more associated to the discussions within the sustainable finance platform regarding taxonomy as this topic is particularly important and will impact all future investments in the sector. The organization of webinars was a good initiative, however the discussions regarding criteria are crucial and should therefore have also involved representatives from the waterborne sector.


02.03.2021 Successful vessel call optimization combines port and ship centric approaches

On February 24th, 2021, the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament adopted MEP Delli’s report on more efficient and cleaner maritime transport. FEPORT subscribes to the objectives of this report and welcomes the MEPs good appraisal of the main issues at stake.

FEPORT appreciates the recognition by the TRAN MEPs of the efforts deployed by port stakeholders and values their call on the Commission to draw up a strategy on zero-emission ports and to take swift action to regulate EU port access for the most polluting ships based on the Port State Control Directive framework.

The draft resolution also highlights other measures that could significantly contribute to the decarbonization of the maritime sector and the reduction of shipping emissions at sea (such as vessel speed optimization, including slow steaming, optimization of navigable routes, etc.) and in ports.

With respect to port/vessel call optimization, FEPORT underlines the need to have good insights into the concept and an extensive knowledge of all existing initiatives that have been deployed to improve port/ship communication and optimize the calls to the benefit of port stakeholders and ship operators.

An efficient vessel call relies on mutual understanding from ship and port stakeholders of each other’s functioning and constraints. Both port centric and ship centric approaches to vessel/port call optimization are needed to conceive models of communication and data sharing that enhance predictability for both sides. This is already the model that is implemented by existing vessel coordination centers.

Far from optimization however, late arrivals of ships, no shows (blank sailings) and low schedule reliability have tremendous negative effects not only on port terminals but on a whole range of port stakeholders and actors of the maritime logistics chain. The disruption in the organization resulting from a low schedule reliability is also detrimental to sustainability and decarbonization efforts and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.  

2020 has not been a year of good practice in terms of schedule reliability in the container sector and the congestion that has resulted in ports should also be part of the discussion on vessel call optimization.

FEPORT has elaborated a position paper on this important topic that you can find at the bottom of the press release on our website and looks forward to having interesting exchanges with all interested parties.


03.03.2021 – 2nd Meeting of the Sustainable Ports Subgroup

On the 3rd of March, FEPORT participated in the 2nd meeting of the Sustainable Ports Subgroup which reconvened after a long break which was caused by the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of the meeting focused on the planning of the future work of the subgroup. The workstreams proposed by the EU Commission concerned the Study on the Capacity for Greening of European Sea Ports, the EMSA Study on OPS and the collection and categorization of best practices in terms of use of alternative fuels and clean energy for port operations.

The Commission also gave an overview of present legislative initiatives such as FuelEU Maritime which will leave some space for LNG as this would be in line with the goal-based approach the EU Commission adheres to. Regarding the upcoming proposal for a revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive, participants were informed that the Commission intends to present its proposal by June 2021.

Under “other information points”, members of the Sustainable Ports Subgroup were informed that interviews will be conducted in April in the context of the EALING project, a Horizon Europe project which seeks to accelerate the effective deployment of OPS in EU maritime ports.


10.03.2021 – European Parliaments approves Report on a WTO-compatible EU carbon border adjustment mechanism

On the 10th of March, the European Parliament’s Plenary adopted MEP Jadot’s report on a WTO-compatible EU carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM).

With this Report, the Parliament provided the Commission with an important document paving the way towards the EU’s objective to become climate neutral by 2050.

As the world’s largest carbon importer, the EU’s imports of goods and services represent more than one fifth of the Union’s domestic CO2 emissions and thereby hinder its climate goal.

yannick jadot 800x450

Most political groups of the European Parliament agreed on the need to introduce a CBAM that reduces carbon leakage and contributes to fighting climate change worldwide, while always keeping in mind the competitiveness of the European industry, which was actually mentioned as an argument in favor of the CBAM.

Indeed, by ensuring that the responsibility to halt climate change is shared by all actors, also beyond the EU, the CBAM will be a fundamental instrument to both stimulate industry investment in green solutions and prevent unfair competition from third countries.

The new mechanism should be part of a broader EU industrial strategy and cover all imports of products and commodities covered by the EU ETS. MEPs add that already by 2023, and following an impact assessment, it should cover the power sector and energy-intensive industrial sectors like cement, steel, aluminum, oil refinery, paper, glass, chemicals and fertilizers, which continue to receive substantial free allocations, and still represent 94 % of EU industrial emissions.

They add that linking carbon pricing under the CBAM to the price of EU allowances under the EU ETS will help to combat carbon leakage, but underline that the new mechanism must not lead to double protection for EU installations.

The Commission is expected to present a legislative proposal on a CBAM in the second quarter of 2021, as well as a proposal on how to include the generated revenues to finance part of the EU budget.


11.03.2021 – US Congress says carriers are undermining US exports

On the 11th of March, 111 members of the US Congress wrote a letter to Federal Maritime Commission chairman, Mr. Michael Khouri, expressing concerns about ocean carriers’ actions, which are in their view undermining US exports. Congressmen are calling to use the Shipping Act to address “unjust and unreasonable” ocean carrier practices resulting from the pandemic.

us congress

In their letter, the 111 Congressmen voiced their growing concern over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers are declining to ship US exports. American producers, exporters, and entire economic sectors have been struggling because of widespread delays, bottlenecks, and increasing fees at the country’s ports over the past year.

Moreover, these challenges are worsened by reports that the ocean carriers are delivering shipments to US ports and then “electing to leave” without refilling empty containers with American goods for export, thus shrinking entire supply chains and driving trade to move only in an inbound direction, conditions clearly unsustainable for exporters and simply unacceptable according to the signatories. 

“Should it be found that vessel-operating common carriers are predatory or unreasonable in refusing to export these American agricultural products or imposing unreasonable fees, they must be held accountable by the Commission for the harm they are causing our producers,” the lawmakers said. 

“Should the investigation reveal any wrongdoing, we urge the Commission to take appropriate enforcement actions to end such practices swiftly and decisively.”

Members of the US Congress Transportation and Infrastructure Committee wrote to the FMC expressing similar concerns about disruptions in the maritime supply chain resulting from the pandemic and about many ocean carriers prioritizing higher value foreign imports over US agricultural exports. 

They said the pandemic has “completely upended” the shipping industry, resulting in “severe backups at ports and disrupting every link in the maritime supply chain.”

Source: Lloyd’s Loading List


16.03.2021 – TRAN Draft Opinion “A new approach to the Atlantic maritime strategy”

On the 16th of March, the TRAN Committee discussed the draft opinion of MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica on the REGI INI entitled “A new approach to the Atlantic maritime strategy”.

MEP Bilbao Barandica underlined the need for sustainability, connectivity, tourism and green jobs and affirmed that the Atlantic strategy is being reinforced in accordance with the Green Deal and the Digital strategy. This type of interregional alliance will encourage the best investment plans and transport networks, which will form the true backbone of the Atlantic strategy.

During the meeting, MEP Jutta Paulus stressed that the Atlantic maritime strategy should be strengthened with preparation for climate change. She also acknowledged that ports should have the means to decarbonize, and that offshore renewable energy will be pivotal for the greening of the sector.

The TRAN Chair, MEP Karima Delli, said there is an urgency and necessity to decarbonize shipping and that ports play an extremely important role when it comes to sustainable transport.

MEP Bilbao Barandica concluded by remarking that everyone in the TRAN Committee shares the goal to improve ports, connection, a green and sustainable economy, creating quality jobs, and tourism that takes advantage of all the assets of this region. She underlined the idea of a macro-regional strategy allowing knowledge and innovation along the Atlantic Arc to pe shared and pooled, for example on renewables. 


16.03.2021 – TRAN workshop on hydrogen fuels in transport

On the 16th of March, the TRAN Committee discussed with experts the prospects of hydrogen fuel use in the transport sector and the related technologies for road, rail, waterborne and air transport.

MEPs acknowledged hydrogen’s potential to decarbonize the transport sector, but insisted that this potential can be truly unleashed only via the use of green hydrogen. Furthermore, MEPs remarked that expectations for hydrogen are high in the context of transport decarbonization, as well as for establishing Europe's leading position in terms of innovation for a sustainable transport sector.

For the maritime mode, Mrs. Laurence Grand-Clement, Chief Executive Officer of Persee, France, took the floor and spoke on how hydrogen can be a potential game changer to decarbonize the lagging shipping sector.

Mrs. Grand-Clement noted that heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is still broadly used in shipping, is the most polluting fuel on the market. The shipping sector is growing, and its emissions will continue to increase in the future. Moreover, she noted that the sector has been lagging behind in terms of emission reductions, the reasons for which include inter alia the fact that shipping is an international business and needs to be regulated internationally at IMO level. The consequence is that shipping is not part of COP21, and it was only in 2018 that IMO decided to introduce an initial strategy to reduce CO2 and other GHG emissions from the sector.

Mrs. Grand-Clement recognized that the available solutions and existing technologies will not be sufficient to achieve the broader ambition of emissions reduction and that there is no consensus as to which role exactly hydrogen can play or even the form hydrogen could take in the maritime sector (gaseous, liquid, ammonia, etc.).

She underlined that ports could be the cornerstone of the hydrogen economy, but, as of today, the infrastructure made available at ports is lacking as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) has not been supporting the deployment of hydrogen refueling stations for ports.

The expert made clear that maritime decarbonization will not occur without strong institutional support from the Commission and identified two ways for this to happen:

  • Stimulate in an integrated approach new bunkering infrastructure as well as technology on board of the vessels, preferably in the same subsidy call.
  • Support both investments and operational costs through contracts for difference to make renewable hydrogen - if not competitive - at least attractive in comparison to incumbent fossil fuels.


18.03.2021 FEPORT responds to public consultation regarding trialogue negotiations on the NIS 2 Directive

On the 16th of December 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a revised Directive on EU Network and Information Security labelled the NIS 2 Directive. Stakeholders had the possibility to submit comments to this proposal so the EU Commission can take them into account in the trialogue negotiations that will soon begin between the EU Commission, the Council and EU Parliament.

In its submission, FEPORT highlighted that terminals, in the context of the digitalization and automation of the industry, are already allocating significant investments to the prevention of cyber risks. This is particularly important as a shutdown of the port ecosystem can strongly harm commercial operations, the security of supplies of essential goods and can also pose issues with respect to the safety, security and fluidity of cargo flows.

Moreover, it was stressed that Member States should have some freedom in drafting a list of essential entities covered by the Directive, in order to prevent increasing the administrative burden for relatively small companies in the port ecosystem, which are exposed to only minor cyber risks.

FEPORT also underlined the importance of paying careful attention to the confidentiality of the data of companies, especially when considering requirements for companies to exchange cybersecurity related information amongst themselves.

Finally, the paper argued in favor of abstaining from mandatory certification requirements for companies in the port ecosystem.


19.03.2021 NOVIMAR stakeholder meet-up

On the 19th of March, FEPORT participated in the NOVIMAR stakeholder meet-up which was organized for stakeholders such as barge owners, terminal operators and port authorities.

According to the NOVIMAR vision, future waterborne transport operations on short-sea, sea-river and inland waterways can be performed by vessel trains.

During the session, the NOVIMAR project team presented the economic viability of the vessel train concept through three business cases demonstrating the concept on the Rhine, on the Danube and in short sea shipping.

With the vessel train concept, a lead vessel - which is fully crewed - will take care of the navigation and maneuvering of the remaining vessels in the train, which are operated with reduced crew. In this way, costs can be reduced thereby increasing the economic viability of the waterborne transport mode.

Part of the efficiency of the vessel train concept relies on the lead vessel not having to stop and on the presumption that only the last follower vessel leaves the train to discharge cargo. This requires a novel cargo consolidation concept where all cargo in one inland vessel should be destined for the same discharge port.

Also, cargo handling innovations are needed. For example, by using different cargo handling vehicles, intermediate platforms to allow for the roll-on/roll-off of cargo from inland vessels and different container stacking solutions.

After analyzing the three business cases which looked at the costs and benefits of the vessel train concept for cargo owners, vessel owners and the lead vessel organizing the vessel train, it showed that the Rhine case was found the most economically viable by the participants.


22.03.2021 TRAN INI on Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy

On the 22nd of March, MEP Ismail Ertug released the Draft Report of the non-legislative initiative regarding the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, for which he is Rapporteur.

In the draft report, MEP Ertug calls for more ambitious targets regarding emissions standards and the share of zero- and low-emissions light and heavy-duty vehicles in 2030, as well as turning the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive into a Regulation while revising it.

ertug ismail

Moreover, the draft report opposes the inclusion of road transport in the EU ETS and calls for the progressive end of fossil-fuel subsidies from 2022 onwards.


22.03.2021 – Council adopts conclusions on the EU's cybersecurity strategy

On the 22nd of March, the Council adopted conclusions on the EU's cybersecurity strategy for the digital decade, which was presented by the Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs in December 2020.

This strategy outlines the framework for EU action to protect EU citizens and businesses from cyber threats, promote secure information systems and protect a global, open, free and secure cyberspace.

The conclusions note that cybersecurity is essential for building a resilient, green and digital Europe. They set as a key objective achieving strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy. This includes reinforcing the ability to make autonomous choices in the area of cybersecurity, with the aim of strengthening the EU's digital leadership and strategic capacities.


24.03.2021 Release of TIC 4.0 first White Paper on Standards

On March 24th, the publication of TIC 4.0 White Paper marked an important milestone for the cargo handling industry. This first White Paper, entitled “An Introduction to the Terminal Industry Committee 4.0”, is the result of important efforts deployed by all TIC 4.0 members.

tic 40 white paper 

As announced during the joint TIC 4.0 - TOC Digital Webinar held on February 24th, the 4th industrial revolution is becoming a reality in the terminal industry. 

This paper is the first release of a series of documents that TIC4.0 will publish over the next months.

The White Paper presents the context and needs for defining harmonized standards as a requirement to adopt the Industry 4.0 model in the port terminal industry. The White Paper also presents the objectives of TIC 4.0, internal organization, and work methodology of the association.

TIC 4.0 White Paper also explains the drivers of its members and gives a first glimpse on the “heart” of the solution with the description of the already agreed semantics and a work-in-progress example. The support and engagement of all parties will be a key success factor in bringing the standards into real life to finally be able to embrace the 4th industrial revolution.

The White Paper is available for external interested companies and individuals in the Publications section of the website, by means of a registration via this link.

To obtain the document, please visit TIC 4.0 website in the publications section and fill in the registration form. An automatic e-mail with the link to download the file will be sent to your e-mail address.


25.03.2021 – Global Shippers Forum renews call against Block Exemption Regulation

On the 25th of March, the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) called on the European Commission to put the container shipping market under closer scrutiny as the industry enters the second year of its Block Exemption from normal competition rules and responds to the continuing stresses induced by the global health pandemic.

One year after the unconditional renewal of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) from the Commission, GSF Secretary General, James Hookham, criticized the Commission’s “legislate and forget” approach. After one year of a “wild roller-coaster ride for everyone involved in world trade and international logistics with shipping rates, capacity availability and service quality reaching new extremes”, Mr Hookham explained that the “degree of co-ordination and discipline between shipping lines has been remarkable and has attracted the attention of regulatory authorities around the world, most notably in the US, China and South Korea. Only the EU has remained silent, yet four of the biggest shipping lines in the world fall within its jurisdiction”.

GSF has identified three “must-do” actions that the Commission should undertake to re-balance its supervision account and align itself with competition regulators elsewhere in the world:

  1. Equip itself with sufficient market data, and powers to acquire such data where it is not in the public domain, to be able to monitor the behavior of the market.
  2. Establish performance thresholds, covering key services such as capacity, rates and reliability, that will trigger further investigations if they are breached.
  3. Commence more frequent consultations with the industry’s stakeholders and representatives to understand the factors and experiences of “consumers” of shipping lines services, given its decision to abjure their rights to the protection otherwise enshrined in the EU Treaties.

Source: Global Shippers Forum


26.03.2021 IMO Study: Shipping emissions rose by almost 10% during 2012-2018 period

On the 26th of March, IMO published its Fourth GHG Study Executive Summary.

The Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) Emissions from Ships was adopted in 2018, when IMO Member States pledged to cut GHG emissions from international shipping and to phase them out as soon as possible. Since then, no other iteration had been published.

The study estimates that shipping emitted 1,056 million tons of CO2 in 2018, accounting for about 2.89% of the total global anthropogenic CO2 emissions for that year. Under a new voyage-based allocation method, the share of international shipping represented 740 million tons of CO2 in 2018.

According to a range of plausible long-term economic and energy business-as-usual scenarios, shipping emissions could represent 90-130% of 2008 emissions by 2050.

For the first time, the study includes estimates of carbon intensity. Overall carbon intensity has improved between 2012 and 2018 for international shipping as a whole, as well as for most ship types. The overall carbon intensity, as an average across international shipping, was between 21 and 29% better than in 2008.


26.03.2021 Motorways of the Sea Forum

On the 26th of March, FEPORT attended the Digital Motorways of the Sea (MoS) meeting, which was chaired by Professor Kurt Bodewig, European Motorways of the Sea Coordinator. Numerous topics were on the agenda, such as an update on MoS projects, a briefing on the outcomes and priorities with respect to the sea basin workshops, and the new DIP for 2021.

Between April 2019 and February 2021, five Sea Basin workshops were realized with the aim of bringing together MoS and the Core Network Corridors and joining forces to strengthen the link and work towards a full multimodal integration of the TEN-T. In order to reach this goal, numerous relevant actors from the maritime cluster came together and expressed their willingness to cooperate and coordinate to achieve common goals.

The regional approach of these projects was highly appreciated by the participants as it gave the possibility to tackle the various issues and challenges that ports face in different geographical areas, while always keeping in mind the factors that unite all actors.

The importance of attracting new businesses (such as energy producers and suppliers) in port areas was also stressed. Ports can play a fundamental role in the shipping sector’s goal of greening, but this means that important investments should be mobilized to build new infrastructure allowing ports to become importers and exporters of green energy.


26.03.2021 Workshop on the Guidance to Port Authorities and Administrations on Shore Side Electricity

On the 26th of March, FEPORT attended a workshop regarding the Guidance on OPS which is currently being developed by EMSA. The first part of this guidance, dealing with technology and equipment, has already been shared with stakeholders and a written consultation will be open until the 16th of April. Part 2 concerning Planning, Operations and Safety was presented during the workshop. To this document, stakeholders can provide feedback until April the 29th.

The workshop was opened by DG MOVE, which underlined the importance of the workshop in the context of the EU Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy which both look into OPS and the greening of ports. The guidelines were praised as an important bottom-up initiative that constituted a valuable addition to legislative measures such as FuelEU Maritime or the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.

EMSA gave a general introduction to the document stating that the guidance had departed from a gap analysis which demonstrated that, for example, standards regarding battery-charging could be looked into as well as port-grid aspects and guidelines for safe operations. It would also be important to clearly define what are the responsibilities of each actor involved in OPS.

Part 1 of the Guidance was presented. It contains sections on, for example, ship-shore connection equipment and cybersecurity, and looks into aspects related to the ship, port and utility grids. For instance, problems related to overcapacity of the general grid were discussed in this part of the workshop. Part 2 of the guidance document concerning planning, operations and safety was evoked and stakeholders were informed that they will have the possibility to provide written feedback on this version to EMSA once it will disseminate a number of questionnaires.

The last presentation of the day was provided by IMO, who gave an update on the Draft IMO Interim Guidelines on OPS. This guidance focusses on operational aspects and can therefore be regarded as complementing the EMSA Guidance which accentuates more the technical aspects. The approval of the IMO Guidelines is expected by May 2022.


29.03.2021 – Suez Canal closure aggravates already disrupted supply chain

After almost one week of blockage of the Suez Canal by the 22,000 TEU Ever Given vessel, the grounded megaship has been dug free and the passage through one of the world's most important waterways will be thus soon restored.

Although the Suez Canal will be soon reopened, the repercussions will be huge for the container market and could last over the next 2-3 months, worsening the already disrupted supply chain that suffered od additions to the already high freight rates, congestion in Mediterranean ports and exporters who have to wait for their cargoes to be shipped, as well as long delays in moving thousands of empty containers to Asia. Further disruptions can be expected to hit ports and supply chain actors ahead.

On the 25th of March, MDS Transmodal issued a media statement and remarked that the Suez blockage highlights the dependence of the global economy on a handful of deep-sea shipping lines and the alliances they have formed. A fleet of around 5,000 lift on-lift off container ships moved approximately 150m loaded TEU around the world in 2020, a figure that fell by only around 1% lower than in 2019 despite the pandemic; Q4 2020 was the busiest quarter ever by several percentage points. The mean value of the goods in each loaded TEU is around $40,000. Global consumption was maintained through governments’ fiscal strategies.

Of that total, 108m TEU were “deep-sea” (moving between continents), of which approximately 90% were moved by just 9 shipping lines, themselves organized into 3 alliances and with other inter-company agreements in place to manage capacity. These deep-sea services employ 3700 ships, of which 583 are above 10,000 TEU in capacity. The largest group, those over 18,000 TEU, are used exclusively on Asia to Europe services. The mean capacity of those ships on the services operated by the alliance members through the Suez Canal was 16,000 TEU.

Source: MDS Transmodal


29.03.2021 Kick-off of the European Year of Rail

On the 29th of March, the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council held the kick-off event of the European Year of Rail which was live-streamed via YouTube.

The event was opened by the Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos who stated that the event constituted the start of a whole year full of initiatives that will raise awareness about the importance of rail, especially regarding the need for modal shift. To increase the modal share of rail, he argued, massive public investments would be needed.

The opening ceremony continued with a contribution of EU Transport Commissioner Vălean, who reminded the participants of the role rail traffic had played in the industrial revolution, adding that now rail transport is key in the revolution towards a sustainable and emission free transport system.

Then, MEP Deparnay Grunenberg issued a keynote speech in which she reflected on the possible state of rail transport in 10 years. In this timeframe, rail should have set important steps towards decarbonization, will have achieved a true European rail network and will be well connected to roads and inland waterways.

The main part of the meeting, however, consisted of three panel discussions to which notable figures from industry, civil society and the public sector participated.

The first panel focused on rail infrastructure, interoperability and territorial cohesion and contained a speech of Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge who concorded with the Portuguese Presidency on the importance of public investments.

The second panel entitled “Modern Services, Smart Mobility and Integration Across Modes” was opened by Robert Homolya – CEO of MAV Hungarian Railways participating to the panel on behalf of CER – who stated that this year constituted an excellent opportunity for policy makers to change their legislative behavior towards rail and make them acknowledge its importance. Especially because rail is not only a sustainable mode but has proven its credentials as a reliable and safe transport mode during the pandemic.

The third panel focused primarily on social aspects and included a speech of ETF Chair of the Railway Section, Mr. Giorgio Tuti, who underscored the importance of railway workers and the strong commitment they showed during the COVID-19 crisis, adding that more young workers – in particularly women – should be attracted to the sector.

TRAN Committee Delli gave a speech and agreed with other participants on the role of rail in meeting the EU’s climate challenges, and in that light called on Member States to be ambitious when it comes to rail in their national recovery plans.





Members' News Corner


25.02.2021 – Deltalinqs supports Taskforce Clean Sweep Rotterdam

Together with the Rotterdam Port Authority, several plastics companies have set up a collaboration framework under the name of “Taskforce Clean Sweep Rotterdam”.  Other participating stakeholders, for example, include Ducor Petrochemicals BV, Plastics Europe Nederland and the Dutch Department of Waterways and Public Works Rijkswaterstaat. Also, FEPORT member Deltalinqs contributes to the work of the taskforce.

The main goal of the Rotterdam Clean Sweep Taskforce is to combat pollution from plastic granules, powders and flakes in the port of Rotterdam and is affiliated with Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative of European of plastics producers PlasticsEurope to address the issue of plastic granules (pellets, flakes and powders). 


01.03.2021 DP World implements in-house TOS at Jebel Ali  

On the 1st of March, DP World, UAE Region, announced the completion of implementing ZODIAC, a terminal operating system (TOS), in Jebel Ali Port’s Container Terminal 3 (CT3).

This implementation is a further move towards the smart transformation of DP World ports and logistics hub. The fully automated system includes advanced solutions for remote control of the port’s facilities, such as 18 modules maximizing the utilization of the core competencies and operational assets at the terminal.

The digital system contributes to enhancing the port’s readiness for the future by adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies to keep up with the rapid developments and anticipate opportunities and challenges.

Thanks to this system, CT3 will be able to integrate with any terminal that uses the same automation system. Thus, enhancing its ability to ensure smooth operations even during crises, providing businesses with complete support to access the global supply chain with high efficiency and capacity.


16.03.2021 Yilport orders Kalmar new mobile equipment solutions 

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has concluded a large order from YILPORT Holding Inc. for a total of 27 new Kalmar machines: 11 reach stackers, four empty container handlers and 12 heavy terminal tractors. The order was booked in Cargotec’s 2021 Q1 order intake with delivery of all machines scheduled for Q3 and Q4 of 2021. 

This order strengthens an already long-term collaboration, which has been mutually beneficial. As declared by Mr. Raymond Höhle, Yilport CTO, Kalmar has provided excellent support to help identify exactly the right equipment solutions for Yilport needs and they are able to back up these solutions with high-quality local after-sales support at all locations to help keep the fleet running efficiently and reliably.


17.03.2021 – BEST Barcelona launches “ubi” mobile app

Hutchison Ports BEST has launched a mobile app, “ubi”, for tracking arrival and departure schedules of ships, trains, containers and trucks at BEST.

The app provides transparency of information and agility in decision-making to favor the reduction of operating time in the logistics chain and is updated with real-time developments or incidents that arise in the terminal.

With this application, the truck door process is digitized, allowing paperless tracking of operations, thereby avoiding physical contact in times of pandemic. More specifically, the driver can view the PINCODE, before entering the terminal, to know when he can pick up or deliver his container and receive the gate tickets on his mobile phone.

Additionally, says BEST, the app alerts users to any changes in the status of ships, trains and containers that have been selected to follow.

The Hutchison Ports ubi app is free and available now on the App Store and Google Play.


17.03.2021 – Port of Antwerp and PSA Antwerp upgrade Europa Terminal

The Port of Antwerp, in dialogue with PSA Antwerp, is planning to deepen the quay wall of PSA’s terminal enabling thus Europa Terminal to handle the largest container vessels.

The depth of the terminal – which is currently of 13.5m at the quay wall - will be brought in line with the maximum draught of around 16m at inlet, in order to also accommodate container vessels with larger dimensions.

Extensive maritime works will be necessary to achieve this deepening. The current quay wall, with a length of almost 1200m, needs to be completely demolished. PSA Antwerp is responsible for the renovation of the layout of the adjacent front quay, including new decking and the installation of large container cranes.

The quay wall will be equipped with all “no-regret” (i.e. climate protection) infrastructure measures to enable implementation of shore power. Moreover, the works will be carried out in three phases, in order to limit the operational impact,

The works are expected to start at the end of 2021.


17.03.2021 – PSA and duisport launch joint multimodal investment venture

PSA Northeast Asia Supply Chain (PSA), a subsidiary of PSA International, and Duisburger Hafen (duisport), Europe’s largest hinterland hub, decided to launch a joint multimodal investment venture Multimodal Investments Pte Ltd (MIPL), which will invest in multimodal logistics facilities in Asia and look to enhance connectivity and trade flows with Europe.

Thanks to the supply chain expertise of PSA and duisport, MIPL will aim at expanding value-adding services for customers in Europe and Asia, providing them with efficient multimodal, logistics and digital services through Chongqing and the CUIRC rail terminal network.

The partnership between PSA and duisport will create the opportunity to further develop the collaboration with worldwide clients seeking direct access to both land-locked and maritime markets in Asia. Moreover, the joint venture will allow to improve both physical and digital solutions for product redistribution and returns, enhancing the overall supply chain resilience between inland and sea terminals.



Events supported by FEPORT


  european envi ports conference 2021

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FEPORT meetings

22.04.2021             Board of Directors – Remote

11.05.2021             Social Affairs Committee – Remote

20.05.2021              Port Policy Committee – Remote

25.05.2021              Environment, Safety and Security Committee – Remote

10-11.06.2021         General Assembly – Hamburg TBC

17.06.2021              Customs and Logistics Committee – TBC

23.09.2021              Board of Directors – TBC

28.09.2021              Environment, Safety and Security Committee – TBC

30.09.2021              Port Policy Committee – TBC

13.10.2021              Social Affairs Committee – TBC

21.10.2021              Customs and Logistics Committee – TBC

18.11.2021               Board of Directors – TBC



Institutional meetings

13.04.2021               FISC Committee Meeting – Brussels

13.04.2021               EMPL Committee Meeting – Brussels

14-15.04.2021          TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels

14-15.04.2021          ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

14.04.2021               ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels

19.04.2021               FISC Committee Meeting – Brussels

22.04.2021               ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

22.04.2021               ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels



Other meetings

15.04.2021                 European Maritime Dialogue – Online event

25-28.05.2021            ESPO Conference Regatta 2021 – Online event

31.05.2021                 SSDC Meeting – TBC

03-04.06.2021            UNIM General Assembly Online event

16-17.06.2021            European Environmental Ports Conference Online event

19.11.2021                 SSDC Plenary Meeting – TBC



FEPORT Newsletter - March 2021