FLIP / APLM workshop "“European Local ports: How is the European Maritime Policy ranking them?"
The event was hosted in Brussels with a view to raising the profile of small & medium sized ports within the emerging EU Maritime and ports policies. With a new strategy framework for the development of local ports emerging in the fields of marine renewables energies and short sea shipping, local and regional ports need to feel that they too have a place in this new policy framework at the European level. Maritime transport has a significant potential to boost economic development and provide sustainable alternatives to road freight transport. However, the workshop heard that the European regulatory framework is continually evolving and with the Sulphur Emissions Directive entering into force in January 2015, it is an increasing multiplicity of standards that stands to jeopardise the future of small and medium sized ports and their logistics stakeholders. As the Multi Annual Framework for 2014-2020 is being finalised, the local ports called on the Commission for better recognition with the Structural and Investment Funds, the Connecting Europe Facility and the emerging maritime and fisheries finds. The ports called on the European Commission to be given a greater collective voices in the development of future policies that affects them as well as the larger ports. The workshop looked at the delicate balance between environmental regulation and financial sustainability. The workshop was closed with the presentation of a draft memorandum from the small and medium sized ports to be better acknowledged during future policy developments at the EU level.