The strategic role of ports in Europe’s supply chains uncovered
Brüssel, 07.11.2013 | EU policymakers and industry executives discussed how ports contribute to European innovation and competitiveness at a high-level event in the European Parliament today.
EU policymakers and industry executives discussed how ports contribute to European innovation and competitiveness at a high-level event in the European Parliament today.
At an event hosted by German Member of the European Parliament Knut Fleckenstein and the Brussels-based Alliance for European Logistics (AEL), policymakers and representatives from leading EU ports as well as the wider shipping industry discussed the strategic role of ports in Europe’s supply chain. They concluded that ports are an integral part of an efficient, sustainable supply chain and an important backbone of European business and trade.
75% of EU trade goes by sea, with European ports connected to 848 ports in the Far East and 629 in Central and South America. In 2011, 3.7 billion tonnes of goods were handled in European sea ports. Over the last twenty years, the number of containers used has quadrupled. Despite these impressive numbers, the effectiveness of port operations in Europe means they rarely steal the spotlight and many people do not fully grasp the role of ports and terminal operations in Europe and how they facilitate European commerce.
The port sector is investing considerably in connections with the hinterland as well as in IT technologies, which can ease processes in the entire supply chain. Sea ports, as crucial entry and exit points of the EU, and inland ports, as important connecting points and hinterland hubs within Europe, help to facilitate trade. This means that the good functioning of sea ports and inland ports, assisted by a supportive regulatory framework, has the potential to benefit all sectors which are directly and indirectly linked through global supply chains.
The event aimed to provide a perspective on port operations from different angles and was well attended by Members of the European Parliament, counsellors from the Permanent Representations of various Member States, representatives from the European Commission, as well as participants from some of Europe’s biggest ports.
At the event, Erich Staake, CEO of duisport, holding and management company of the world’s largest inland port, said: “Ports are guarantors of Europe’s competitiveness. Through intelligent intermodal concepts European industry and business will continue to invest in Europe which benefits our economy as a whole. In order to tackle the upcoming challenges for ports and logistics hubs, infrastructure investments should be made according to objective criteria which are tailored to suit market needs”.
Representing the freight forwarder perspective, Jean-Claude Delen, CEO Benelux & France DHL Global Forwarding said: “Efficient port management can boost economic competitiveness and enhance industrial network while creating jobs and contributing to reduce the carbon footprint of supply chains. Port efficiency depends mainly on handling costs and time, hinterland connections and administrative processes in place.”
On behalf of ECT Hutchison Port Holdings, Rob Bagchus, Chief Public Affairs & Public Relations Officer stated: “Terminal operators have spent billions in Europe modernizing their terminals to meet the demands of customers and are efficient in a highly competitive market. To keep pace Europe will need to invest in efficient hinterland connections to ensure seamless transport within Europe.”
The AEL promotes a new policy agenda for logistics services in Europe. It brings together both the major providers of logistics services in Europe as well as global companies that rely on efficient logistics for the successful execution of their business operations. Its current membership consists of BASF, CEVA Logistics, Deutsche Post DHL, duisport, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Europe, IVECO, Kuehne + Nagel, Michelin, Motorola Solutions and SAP.