Private Investors Want Bigger Role in European Ports
Europe’s private port terminal operators want more involvement in decision making regarding the development of port projects in the EU.
Leaders of FEPORT, an organization of European private port terminals operators, recently met with EU officials in Brussels to discuss the subject.
“In many ports the amount of private investments is significant and often equals or exceeds public investments,” said President, Gunther Bonz, FEPORT’s president. “This justifies an increased involvement of the private sector in the discussions and decision making processes regarding the development of port projects both at the EU and national levels.”
FEPORT advocates for smooth development of projects, and clear and transparent contracting and implementing procedures. Transparency about public funding is a prerequisit to attract sustainable investments in European ports, according to the organization.
“The private sector has taken the lead to innovate and modernize port operations,” said Bonz. “Use of technological innovation is expanding and significant resources are allocated to training so as to improve safety and efficiency on terminals.”
Private port operators are playing a key enabling role for the maritime logistics chain at a moment many European ports are facing big challenges to accommodate bigger ships, according to Bonz.
“Simplification of administrative procedures and the establishment of a real single window are key success factors of a future holistic maritime logistics strategy that terminal operators would support and feed with concrete proposals,” said Bonz. “Physical connection to the transport network and to the wider logistics chain on the land side is vital particularly if it takes into account the evolution of the needs of the sea side.”
Terminal operators would welcome more dialogue among all maritime logistics stakeholders, said Bonz. “This would certainly allow better understanding of the needs and expectations of all parties and would help to prioritize projects, to make targeted investments and to introduce simplification where needed,” he added.
FEPORT represents 1,200 companies with operations at 400 terminals. FEPORT members have invested $44 billion over the last 10 years in equipment and infrastructure and employ 220,000 port workers in the EU.
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