Strategic or not strategic, that is the question



In recent written exchanges between a group of organizations of the waterborne sector and the EU Commission, the strategic dimension of the ecosystem has been underlined and acknowledged by both parties.

This being said, many organizations of the waterborne remain concerned by the lack of representation of their industries in a number of important platforms currently setting up policy priorities as well as important criteria with respect to sustainable investments[1].

The COVID-19 crisis has shown how critical are the components of the waterborne sector in Europe to ensure well-functioning supply chains.

The wide variety of public and private subsectors, such as shipping, port authorities, private port companies and terminals, port service providers, shipyards, maritime equipment manufacturers, dredgers, inland waterway transport etc. are also crucial investors in heavy assets, infrastructure and equipment that contribute to the competitiveness of the EU waterborne sector. Hence the importance to involve them in the elaboration of efficient policies that will ensure that supplies to the EU remain under EU control.

COVID-19 crisis has also clearly highlighted that there are serious risks for Europe in being dependent on foreign interests or part of third countries’ strategies. This is especially valid for the strategic waterborne sector.

If Europe considers the waterborne sector as a strategic one as the EU Commission seems to proclaim it, then there is a need for consistency when it comes to the involvement of its representatives when defining the technical screening criteria for Taxonomy.

It is very frustrating for thousands of companies to have no visibility on their future obligations in the framework of the Taxonomy related files. For instance, article 8 of the Taxonomy Regulation requires financial and non-financial organizations covered by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD)[2] to include information in their non-financial information statements on how, and to what extent, their business activities (turnover, CapEx and OpEx) align with the Taxonomy Regulation, but until now, corporations which shall have to start disclosing against the first two climate objectives (climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation) in the course of 2022 (possibly covering the financial year 2021) and all six environmental objectives in the course of 2023 (covering the financial year 2022) have no information regarding the kind of data they will need to provide.

While all EU subsectors are certainly willing to support the Taxonomy objectives, the current methodology to adopt these new rules seems to once again ignore the fact that another important priority for the EU Waterborne sector is to remain sustainable, smart but also competitive vis à vis non-EU competitors which do not have the same obligations at such very short notice.

To conclude with a more positive note, many organizations of the waterborne consider that recently proposed Regulation to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market is a good signal indicating that the EU is also conscious that a non-level playing field between EU and non-EU companies is a major threat.

It will be, however, important that the scope of the Regulation concerns all sub sectors of the waterborne sector. This will ensure that all companies/entities receiving foreign subsidies are identified and will ultimately comply with the obligations of the Regulation.

It would be counterproductive that some subsectors seeking support are not included in the scope of what we hope to be an efficient instrument, i.e., the above-mentioned Regulation.

Being qualified as strategic entails recognition, support but also obligations.


[1] “Even though the waterborne sector is an (industrial) ecosystem in itself, it has been inserted in the “Automotive and Mobility Industrial Ecosystem”, without any information on the activities in this ecosystem and without any recognition of the sector’s specificities, needs and challenges.
6 Whilst being presented as one of the core sectors of the European Green Deal, no waterborne transport representative was selected to participate in discussions on sustainable financing and maritime taxonomy. It is regrettable that the European Commission did not organize any follow up workshop before the publication of the COWI CE Delft study as only few sectors had the opportunity to present their priorities during the first workshop. It would very welcome that the revision of the 1st Delegated Act provides more opportunity for inclusive discussions between the EU Commission and the Waterborne sector.
7 By selecting only one of the waterborne stakeholders (IndustriAll European Trade Union) for the Industrial Forum Expert Group, none of the employers from the waterborne sector have been included in this key interlocutor group, despite” mentioned in the joint letter sent by the organizations representing the EU waterborne sector.  
[2] Currently the NFRD applies only to EU-incorporated large public interest entities (“PIEs”), which can include organizations in the financial and non-financial sectors with securities traded on a regulated market, in each case if they have more than 500 employees. However, the Commission has announced a review of the NFRD and one issue being considered is whether it is amended to include all listed companies (including SMEs) and/or set the bar precisely at SME level (i.e. above 250 employees). If the scope of the NFRD was extended, this would in turn have a knock-on effect on which organizations need to comply with the disclosure requirements in Article 8 of the Taxonomy Regulation.
Another important point to note is that that companies within the scope of the NFRD will have to disclose even if there are no specific criteria (yet) available to their activities/sector. The content and presentation of the information to be disclosed under Article 8 will be hopefully further specified by the Commission by June 2021 through a delegated act.




27.04.2021 – DG MOVE study on the Development of a methodology to assess the “green” impacts of investment in the maritime sector and projects

On the 27th of April, DG MOVE released a study on the Development of a methodology to assess the “green” impacts of investment in the maritime sector and projects.

The study is linked to the ongoing work on the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance initiative which the Commission requested in order to:

  • Assess the different decarbonization pathways in the maritime sector.
  • Take stock of emerging technologies and ongoing policy developments at both EU and global level.
  • Consider which economic activities could be considered environmentally sustainable in line with the Taxonomy Regulation, and under which conditions.

study methology green impact

The study examines which maritime economic activities could be considered environmentally sustainable according to the EU Taxonomy Regulation. To establish a broader context, it first analyses recent developments in the maritime shipping sector and examines state-of-the-art decarbonization technologies. To better understand the diversity of activities that can contribute to one or more of the Regulation’s environmental objectives, the study maps the relevant economic activities according to their NACE codes as well as their potential impacts on those objectives. Based on these considerations, the study discusses general principles for setting technical screening criteria for the sector and proposes specific criteria.

The primary focus of the study is on activities that substantially contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation objectives. In order to assess the impacts of different levels of stringency in the criteria, a high-level market assessment is performed which discusses the impacts of different scenarios on green finance supply and demand. The need for monitoring to ensure that potential claims of greenwashing are avoided is discussed along with the costs and benefits of such monitoring. Finally, the characteristics of shipping finance are discussed, with a focus on the potential for scaling up green finance in the maritime sector.


01.05.2021 Trade in empty containers continues to weigh on ports

In the last months, the demand for empty containers has been booming and it seems unlikely that this trend will change any time soon. As reported by the Port of Rotterdam, the combined weight of its Q1 TEU volume dropped by 0.7%, even though its overall container trade rose by 4.5%.

Demand for empty containers has continued to increase substantially in recent months, driven by an acceleration of Asia’s exports and the ongoing e-commerce boom.

However, as also confirmed by Eleanor Hadland, Senior Analyst Ports and Terminals at Drewry Shipping Consultants, ports and terminals will continue to cope with the present market situation without opting to invest in more specific port equipment, as most hubs are able to manage the market imbalance with their present infrastructure.

“Most container terminals will allocate each carrier a limit on the number of empty containers that they can hold within the stacks, and when yard congestion increases these limits can be cut further and/or the cut-off time for receiving export cargo and export empties into the yard will be support yard operations.”, Hadland explained.

In the past 12 months, while ports have been struggling because of volume fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and congestions related also – but not solely – to the Suez Canal obstruction, carriers’ earnings increased substantially, due to a combination of booming demand and diversified logistics strategies. This trend of increasing carrier profits could continue for another two years, as predicted by the recent report from Drewry.

As affirmed by Hadland, problems related to the handling of excess containers will likely be outside the main port terminal operations, whereas off-dock yards, empty depots and inland terminals will feel the brunt of slow-moving containers.

Even though the increased throughput volume in Q1 paints a positive picture, times remain turbulent for companies working in trade and logistics, which are left to face the challenge of handling the aftermath of the Suez blockage in terms of logistics.

Source: Port Technology


05.05.2021 – New Regulation to address distortions by foreign subsidies

On the 5th of May, the European Commission proposed a new Regulation to tackle foreign subsidies that cause distortions and harm the level playing field in the EU Single Market.

Following the adoption of the White Paper in June 2020, the Commission’s ambition is to employ this new instrument to close the regulatory gap in the Single Market. Indeed, while subsidies granted by EU Member States are subject to close scrutiny, those granted by non-EU governments still go largely unchecked.

Foreign subsidies are not subject to EU competition rules and, therefore, their recipients can benefit from unfair advantages when they acquire EU companies, participate in public procurements in the EU or engage in other commercial activities in the EU.

new reg on distortive foreign sub

The proposed Regulation is an integral part of the updated EU Industrial Strategy, which was also adopted on the 5th of May.

Under the proposed Regulation, the Commission will have the power to investigate financial contributions granted by public authorities of a non-EU country which benefit companies engaging in an economic activity in the EU via the introduction of three tools:

  • A notification-based tool to investigate concentrationsinvolving a financial contribution by a non-EU government, where the EU turnover of the company to be acquired (or of at least one of the merging parties) is €500 million or more and the foreign financial contribution is at least €50 million;
  • a notification-based tool to investigate bids in public procurements involving a financial contribution by a non-EU government, where the estimated value of the procurement is €250 million or more; and
  • a tool to investigate all other market situationsand smaller concentrations and public procurement procedures, which the Commission can start on its own initiative (ex-officio) and may request ad-hoc notifications.

It is proposed that the Commission will be the authority enforcing the regulation. Foreign subsidies below EUR 5 million are considered unlikely to be distortive.

With respect to maritime, the EU Commission suggests to clarify the relationship between this Regulation and sectoral instruments dealing with foreign subsidies, namely the old Council Regulation (EEC) 4057/86 on unfair pricing practices in maritime transport (OJ L 378, 31.12.1986, p. 14).

Regarding redressive measures and commitments, the proposed Regulation includes a range of structural or behavioral remedies, such as the divestment of certain assets or the prohibition of a certain market behavior.

In case of notified transactions, the Commission will also have the power to prohibit a subsidized acquisition or the award of a public procurement contract to a subsidized bidder.

The proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and EU Member States, and a feedback period will be open until the 22nd of June 2021.


05.05.2021 – Updated 2020 Industrial Strategy

Taking into consideration the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and its long lasting effects on the EU economy, the European Commission decided to update the EU Industrial Strategy.

Released on the 5th of May 2021, the updated Strategy reiterates the priorities set out in the March 2020 Communication, while responding to the lessons learned from the crisis to boost the recovery and enhance the EU's open strategic autonomy.

The SME dimension is at the core of the updated Strategy which contains tailored financial support as well as measures to enable SMEs and start-ups to embrace the twin transitions.

2020 industrial strategy

Key areas of the updated Industrial Strategy:

  1. Strengthening Single Market resilience

The crisis highlighted the essential need to uphold the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital in the Single Market and the need to strengthen its resilience to disruptions. To this purpose, the Commission will, among others:

  • Propose a Single Market Emergency Instrument - a structural solution to ensure the free movement of persons, goods and services in case of future crises.
  • Fully enforce the Services Directive to ensure that Member States comply with their existing obligations, including the notification obligation in order to identify and eliminate new potential barriers.
  • Strengthen market surveillance of products by supporting national authorities to increase capacity and step up the digitalization of product inspections and data collection.
  • Mobilize significant investment to support SMEs; design and implement Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes to address payments delays to SMEs and provide measures to address solvency risks affecting SMEs.
  1. Dealing with the EU's strategic dependencies

The Commission intends also to analyze and address the existence of EU strategic dependencies, both technological and industrial. Among others, the Commission will therefore:

  • launch a second stage of reviews of potential dependencies in key areas, including products, services or technologies key to the twin transitions, such as renewables, energy storage and cybersecurity, and develop a monitoring system through the Commission's Observatory of Critical Technologies.
  • Work towards diversifying international supply chains and pursuing international partnerships to increase preparedness.
  • Support new industrial alliances in strategic areas where such alliances are the best tool to accelerate activities that would not take off otherwise, paying particular attention to inclusiveness for start-ups and SMEs.
  • Support Member States' efforts to pool public resources via Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) in areas where the market alone cannot deliver breakthrough innovation, with possible support from the EU budget.
  1. Accelerating the twin transitions

The updated Industrial Strategy outlines new measures to support the business case for the green and digital transitions, by:

  • Co-creating transition pathways in partnership with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders, where needed, starting with tourism and energy intensive industries.
  • Providing a coherent regulatory framework to achieve the objectives of Europe's Digital Decade and the “Fit for 55” ambitions, including by accelerating the rollout of renewable energy sources and by ensuring access to abundant, affordable and decarbonized electricity.
  • Providing SMEs with Sustainability Advisors and supporting data-driven business models to make the most out of the green and digital transitions.
  • Investing into upskilling and reskilling to support the twin transitions.

The ongoing extensive review of the EU competition rules aims at ensuring their fitness to support the green and digital transitions to the benefit of Europeans, at a time when the global competitive landscape is fundamentally changing.


05.05.2021 – FEPORT responds to public consultation regarding TEN-T revision

On the 5th of May, FEPORT responded to the public consultation regarding the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, arguing that it is crucial for the TEN-T network to integrate the digital transition in transport in order to increase its resilience.

In its submission, FEPORT underlined the importance of considering the reality of seaport terminals when introducing (binding) requirements for refueling and recharging infrastructure. When it comes to the provision of onshore power supply by port stakeholders, it should be always borne in mind that this is a commercial service based on demand, while for LNG it is crucial to recognize that this is a transitional technology which is for many ship types still the cleanest fuel available.

In order to improve the connectivity of the TEN-T core network corridors, which will help promote multimodal transport solutions and enhance hinterland connections, FEPORT proposed to enhance the role of terminals in the governance of these corridors as they have good knowledge of local bottlenecks that hamper intermodal connections.

Another way to promote modal shift would be to encourage combined transport solutions. In that light, FEPORT issued some recommendations regarding clarifications for TEN-T technical parameters for railway infrastructure as well as suggestions to update inland waterway infrastructure to enable it to cope with aggravated weather conditions resulting from climate change.

FEPORT moreover urged policy makers to not forget non-core or comprehensive TEN-T ports in infrastructure development policies as they play an equally important role in the green transition and pleaded to use the revision of the TEN-T guidelines to address the distortive effects of foreign subsidies in the port sector.

Finally, FEPORT put forward some principles to be taken into account in the sector´s digital transition, underlining, for example, that it is important to focus on clear rules of governance for data-sharing. 


10.05.2021 – TRAN consideration of Draft Report on the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

On the 10th of May, the TRAN Committee discussed the first draft of the Report on the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy prepared by MEP Ismail Ertug.

In the draft report, MEP Ertug calls for more ambitious targets regarding emission 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 supports the inclusion of maritime transport into the EU ETS and calls for the progressive end of fossil-fuel subsidies from 2022 onwards.

The Draft Report underlines the importance of clean refueling and recharging infrastructure, and their potential to green maritime transport. Still, although Onshore Power Supply (OPS) can be particularly useful in supporting the reduction of ships’ emissions at berth, the provision of OPS remains a commercial service which should be underpinned by a solid business case. Policies should therefore focus on promoting the availability of OPS and other clean refueling and recharging solutions in those seaports where there is a demand.

Aside from promoting fully green solutions in maritime transport, it is equally important to make full use of the potential of transitional fuels to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping in the short- and medium-term. In particular LNG is in many cases the cleanest maritime fuel currently available on the market and is increasingly used in the shipping sector as the technology is gaining maturity. Moreover, port stakeholders have allocated significant resources to refueling points, as LNG was assigned an important role in the 2014 AFI Directive. 


12.05.2021 – Portugal’s Presidency Conference “Shifting freight to rail: on track for a greener future”

On the 12th of May, FEPORT participated to the online conference “Shifting freight to rail: on track for a greener future”, organized by Portugal’s Presidency and the General Secretariat of the Council, in the framework of the European Year of Rail.

portuguese presidency conference

In his opening remarks, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Mr. Jorge Delgado, stressed that, in the European Year of Rail, Europe needs to emphasize its common goals: to achieve a carbon neutral society by 2050. Moreover, he highlighted the importance to find ways for the different modes of transport to work together and contribute to our common goals, for the economy and for the climate.

How to achieve these goals was the question that participants sought to answer during the online Conference.

As a speaker in the second panel, FEPORT Secretary General, Ms. Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid explained how the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent availability of infrastructure capacity due to low demand for rail passenger transport, has shown that when rail freight has access to a good quantity and quality of capacity, it can provide a reliable and customer orientated service.

Regarding the EU Year of the Rail, she stressed that there is urgency to move from an acknowledgement of the advantages of rail to discussing how cargo and goods can be successfully moved to rail.

“The Year of Rail must reflect the diversity of the European rail freight industry and the expectations of rail users. Non-incumbent operators who account for, on average, 31% of European rail freight national markets have played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have kept supply chains operational and produced significant efforts to increase the rail freight market share” mentioned Ms. Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid

“The revision of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation and the TEN-T Regulation need to be addressed together given their mutual importance to one another. It will be essential to address the issue of capacity management during the impact assessment of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation. The revision must also introduce clear rights for rail freight when operating on the corridors” added FEPORT SG.

“Legislation should guarantee that when a freight train is respecting its schedule, its operations should not be disturbed to accommodate other types of traffic.  Rail freight can only perform seamlessly across borders if rights are defined at international level. This will be a crucial success factor leading to an increase of rail freight volumes by 50% by 2030” said Ms. Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid.

To conclude, FEPORT SG called on regulators to keep in mind the necessity to adopt more “business friendly” pieces of legislation which do not impose cumbersome administrative requirements that discourage private port companies and terminals from investing into rail services. 


17.05.2021 ENVI-ECON joint exchange with Commissioner McGuinnes on Taxonomy Delegated Act

On the 17th of May, the ENVI and ECON Committees of the European Parliament held a joint exchange with Commissioner McGuinnes on the first Taxonomy Delegated Act, of which the EU Commission adopted the final draft on the 21st of April.

commissioner mcguinnes

During the meeting, various MEPs underlined the important role of the Taxonomy and its accompanying legislation in guiding finance towards green and transitional economic activities, as well as in influencing the financial decisions of companies and households.

During her intervention, Commissioner McGuinnes thanked Parliament for its activities on the Taxonomy file, as this contributed to the inclusion of enabling and transitional activities in the EU Taxonomy Regulation. This is important, as it is key that also companies that are still on their way to becoming green or contribute indirectly to decarbonization receive adequate funding.

However, Commissioner McGuinnes did emphasize that the criteria for transitional activities will be strict as they may not lead to a lock-in effect or prevent the development of low-carbon technologies, and should be the best performing technology in a sector that is available.

Among the MEPs, some argued that the current proposal of the Commission does not go far enough and should exceed already existing EU environmental legislation when it comes to ambition. Others, however, found it key to ensure that the EU Taxonomy is line with existing legislation and that the Taxonomy and Delegated Acts are negotiated democratically.

Source: European Parliament


17.05.2021 Commission proposal on developing a sustainable blue economy in the European Union 

On the 17th of May, the European Commission proposed a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU for the industries and sectors related to oceans, seas and coasts, aimed at achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and ensuring a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.

All blue economy sectors - including maritime transport, port activities and shipbuilding - will have to reduce their environmental and climate impact. Tackling the climate and biodiversity crises requires healthy seas and a sustainable use of their resources to create alternatives to fossil fuels and traditional food production, as well as investing in innovative technologies.

blue eco

The Communication sets out a detailed agenda for the blue economy to:

  • Achieve the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution, most notably by developing offshore renewable energy, by decarbonizing maritime transport and through the greening of ports. Ports are crucial to the connectivity and the economy of Europe's regions and countries and could serve as energy hubs.
  • Switch to a circular economy and reduce pollution, including through renewed standards for fishing gear design, for ship recycling, and for the decommissioning of offshore platforms and actions to reduce plastics and microplastics pollution.
  • Preserve biodiversity and invest in nature, protecting 30% of the EU's sea area will reverse biodiversity loss, increase fish stocks, contribute to climate mitigation and resilience, and generate significant financial and social benefits. Environmental impacts of fishing on marine habitats will be further minimized.
  • Support climate adaptation and coastal resilience, adaptation activities, such as developing green infrastructure in coastal areas and protecting coastlines from the risk of erosion and flooding will help preserve biodiversity and landscapes, while benefitting tourism and the coastal economy.
  • Ensure sustainable food production, sustainable production of and new marketing standards for seafood, use of algae and seagrass, stronger fisheries control as well as research and innovation in cell-based seafood will help to preserve Europe’s seas.
  • Improve management of space at sea, the new Blue Forum for users of the sea to coordinate a dialogue between offshore operators, stakeholders and scientists engaged in fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, renewable energy and other activities will stimulate cooperative exchanges regarding the sustainable use of the marine environment. A report on the implementation of the EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning will be issued in 2022, following the adoption of national maritime spatial plans in March 2021.

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group will work jointly with Member States to meet existing financing needs, in order to reduce pollution in European seas and support investments into blue innovation and the blue bioeconomy.

The new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund - especially with its “BlueInvest” platform  and the new  BlueInvest Fund - will support the transition towards more sustainable value chains based on the oceans, seas and coastal activities. To further finance this transformation, the Commission has urged Member States to include investments for a sustainable blue economy in their national resilience and recovery plans as well as their national operational programs for various EU-funds from now to 2027.  Other EU programs such as the research program Horizon Europe will also contribute, and a dedicated Mission on Oceans and Waters will be set up.


20.05.2021 European Maritime Day 2021

This year on the 20th and the 21st of May, the European Maritime Day took place virtually from Den Helder, in The Netherlands. It was co-organized with the City of Den Helder, the Province of Noord-Holland and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

During this annual two-day event, Europe’s maritime community meets to network, discuss and forge joint actions on maritime affairs and the sustainable blue economy.

european maritime day 2021

On the 20th of May, during his opening speech, Commissioner Sinkevičius talked about the new EU approach for a sustainable Blue Economy.

The Commissioner stressed that the world urgently needs a new economic model which decouples economic growth from resource depletion and promotes innovative solutions that are carbon neutral and less harmful to the environment. The recovery provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually develop such a model.

In Europe this model is called the European Green Deal. It starts from the belief that the best way – the only way – to achieve long-term growth in the EU is by decarbonizing our economy, by moving from linear to circular production and consumption models, and by protecting nature through the cutting of waste and pollution.

The Green Deal also means a revolution for the blue economy, which must become sustainable in order to achieve the Green Deal’s objectives, i.e., promoting ocean conservation whilst generating wealth and jobs through solutions based on the sustainable use of marine resources.

To achieve alignment with the Green Deal, the future of the blue economy will have to revolve around a number of thematic axes and initiatives linked to renewable ocean energies, decarbonization and emissions reduction of maritime transport, circularity and pollution prevention, marine biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, and responsible seafood production and sustainable fisheries.

The Sustainable Blue Economy proposal will also be underpinned by horizontal activities, such as the EU’s Research & Innovation ocean mission, an ocean observation initiative, a sustainable blue economy investment drive and an ocean literacy initiative.

A lot of the innovation needed to achieve the EU’s sustainability goals will come from technologies that are either in the demonstration stage or the prototype stage. Under the European Union’s research framework program, Horizon Europe, the Commission is preparing a “Mission on Oceans and waters”. 

The EU BlueInvest initiative has helped many SMEs and start-ups to get their solutions closer to the market and to access funding from public and private investors. After having launched the BlueInvest Fund with a total volume of more than 75 million euro last year – which is open for business now – the Commission is going to further upscale these opportunities by blending financing from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and InvestEU to create a single financial instrument. 


20.05.2021 Alternative fuels: Impacts on Maritime Safety and the environment in the Baltic Sea Region

On the 20th of May, FEPORT attended a webinar entitled Alternative Fuels: Impacts on Maritime Safety and the Environment in the Baltic Sea region which provided participants some insights in policy developments regarding alternative fuels and their deployment with a particular focus on the Baltic Sea region.

DG MOVE Waterborne Transport Director Magda Kopczynska provided participants with an overview of upcoming EU policy initiatives forming part of the EU “Fit for 55” package which will be presented on the 14th of July and will, for example, encompass proposals for a FuelEU Maritime Initiative and a revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive.

Ms. Kopczynska stressed that the FuelEU Maritime initiative would depart from a goal-based approach due to the uncertainty regarding the maritime sector’s path to decarbonization and because the sector is very diverse. Moreover, a well-to-wake or life-cycle approach will be followed to calculate emissions. FuelEU Maritime will look at reducing CO2, methane and nitrogen-based emissions and will require ships to reduce emissions while at berth.

The AFI Directive will also follow a goal-based approach, meaning LNG will not be a priori excluded. However, emission reduction targets will become more stringent over time so LNG will not be able to comply forever. The AFI Directive proposal should increase the provision of OPS infrastructure, while taking into account that some conditions need to be met (e.g., sufficient demand and minimum time at berth) for the installment of OPS infrastructure to be feasible.

Ms. Jane Amilhat, Head of Unit Low Emission Future Industries at DG RTD, presented an overview of relevant funding calls in 2021 and 2022 which look into the usage of alternative fuels, electricity and propulsion systems in the maritime sector. The calls will be published in June 2021.


26.05.2021 Workshop climate target plan: extension of European Emission Trading System (ETS) to transport emissions

On the 26th of May, the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament organized a workshop regarding the extension of the European Emission Trading System (ETS) to transport emissions. Specifically, the meeting covered discussions to apply emissions trading to road transport, aviation and shipping.

Dr. Dorá Fazekas, Managing Director of Cambridge Econometrics who discussed emissions trading in road transport, argued that emissions trading has proven its credits in driving decarbonization and constitutes a minimal interference in the market economy. Moreover, ETS can help increase the uptake of low carbon technologies.

Jasper Faber, speaking on behalf of research consultancy CE Delft, stressed that when it comes to emission reduction options in shipping, operational measures are much more cost-effective than opting for more sustainable fuel choices. When discussing the regulatory environment, Faber highlighted the upcoming FuelEU Maritime initiative which will look into the carbon content of marine fuels.

Regarding advantages of EU ETS, he argued that this system will incentivize companies to improve their energy efficiency. Moreover, applying ETS to intra-EU voyages, will complement several IMO environmental initiatives since this will provide for additional financial benefits to comply.

A fuel tax on the European level, however, would not contribute a lot to the decarbonization of shipping, as it would encourage ships to bunker outside of the EU.

Ms. Verena Graichen, Senior Researcher at the Energy & Climate Division at the Öko-Institut, gave some insights into a possible timeline to apply the EU ETS system to the various transport segments. In aviation, this would be the easiest as an international system is already in place. The shipping segment would need some more time but can be relatively quick too as they can build on the experience gained with the MRV regulation. In the road transport sector, it will take the longest to apply the EU ETS System.


26.05.2021 – Cargotec, Konecranes file merger for EU approval

Cargotec and Konecranes have requested EU approval for their merger, according to an update on the European Commission's register of notified deals.

The commission has set an initial deadline on the 2nd of July to decide on the deal.

The two Finnish cargo-handling equipment producers agreed to merge last October, saying their deal would create a “global leader” with sales of about 7 billion euros (8.5 billion) capable of leading the industry’s shift toward sustainability, for example by innovation in automation and robotics.

The deal is almost certain to draw intense scrutiny from EU regulators as the two companies appear to have a near monopoly over sales of some equipment used to transport and handle containers at terminals.

In addition to the EU, the companies have said they will need to notify the deal to regulators in China and the US “as well as to several other competition authorities”.

Cargotec and Konecranes expect to complete their deal at the end of the year.

The companies filed the deal as a full Form CO, meaning EU case handlers will carry out a full market investigation, seeking views from a range of customers and rivals. This differs from the more limited inquiries that the regulator conducts under its "simplified" procedure.

The phase I investigation will be extended by 10 working days if the companies offer remedies.

Source: MLex Market Insight 




Members' News Corner


30.04.2021 – DP World ZODIAC completes its “go-live”

In a statement, DP World announced that its CARGOES TOS+ (Zodiac) solution, a cloud-based Terminal Operating System (TOS), has completed its “go-live” at the Commercial Port of Luanda, Angola.

CARGOES TOS+ is an integrated platform encompassing all IT and operational systems under one umbrella, providing users with real-time information on vessel, gate, and yard movements. The news follows the signing of a 20-year concession agreement in January 2021.

CAROGES TOS+ is an off-the-shelf, cloud-based solution which was deployed in just two months, as part of continued investment from DP World into the Port of Luanda and Africa. 

The solution has been implemented at 87 sites globally, including DP World Limassol, Cyprus, where Zodiac Cloud-Based TOS is used for General Cargo. Significant performance and productivity increases were recorded after implementation, as a result of digitization and automation of previously manual processes.


11.05.2021 – DP World adds three French ports to its European inland network

DP World has added three ports in the Alsace region to its inland network through its affiliate company Swissterminal, which will take over the operations in the ports of Ottmarsheim, Huingue-Village-Neuf and Île Napoléon in the course of 2021.

Swissterminal’s takeover of operations in said ports is expected to improve transport connections in the border region between France, Switzerland and Germany which is of economic importance to many industries including chemicals, metals, food processing and construction.

The location of these ports is expected to improve in the near future due to new rail connections that will link them to the Le Havre and Marseille-Fos seaports.

Source: Seatrade


11.05.2021 Hutchison Ports signs agreement to acquire container terminal APM Terminals Rotterdam

Hutchison Ports Netherlands B.V. has signed an agreement to acquire the Rotterdam container terminal (APMTR) from APMT.

The terminal is situated in the Maasvlakte area of the Port of Rotterdam, next to Hutchison Ports ECT Delta Terminal, and disposes of a 1,600 m deep-water quay as well as 13 ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes.

Source: Container Management


17.05.2021 PSA Antwerp conducts trial of Hydrogen port tractor

PSA Antwerp is currently carrying out a trial of a hydrogen-powered terminal tractor in order to test the potential of hydrogen as a clean solution for port vehicles.

The trial concerns a Terberg hydrogen-powered terminal tractor as well as a mobile hydrogen filling station.

This trial forms part of PSA’s wider aim to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, Nitrogen Oxides and particulate matter at its terminals, thereby improving air quality while contributing to a better quality of life and health of local communities.

For example, as part of the Green Straddle Carrier Program, PSA Antwerp will set up a proof of concept with CBMTECH to convert the diesel engines of straddle carriers into dual-fuel H2-diesel ones.

This program has been awarded a grant under the EU horizon 2020 Green Deal Call, as part of the Pioneers consortium (PORTable Innovation Open Network for Efficiency and Emissions Reduction Solutions).

Source: Port Strategy




Events supported by FEPORT


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european envi ports conference 2021

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toc 2021




FEPORT meetings

03.06.2021              Port Policy Committee – Remote

10.06.2021              General Assembly – Remote

17.06.2021              Customs and Logistics Committee – Remote

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

03.06.2021              ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

03.06.2021              ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels

03.06.2021              EMPL Committee Meeting – Brussels

14.06.2021               ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels

14-15.06.2021          ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

16.06.2021               FISC Committee Meeting – Brussels

16-17.06.2021          TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels

21.06.2021               ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels

21.06.2021               ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels

22.06.2021               FISC Committee Meeting – Brussels

28.06.2021               TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels

28.06.2021               ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels


Other meetings

03-04.06.2021           UNIM General Assembly Online event

08.06.2021                 TIC 4.0 General Assembly Online event

15.06.2021                  European Parliament Event “Is bigger really better for all?”   Online event

16-17.06.2021             European Environmental Ports Conference Online event

08.07.2021                  Port Forum  TBC

07-09.09.2021           TOC Europe 2021 Rotterdam

19.11.2021                   SSDC Plenary Meeting – TBC



FEPORT Newsletter - May 2021