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Meeting of the European Shortsea Network in Brussels

Date: 17/10/2017

A meeting of the Joint Short Sea Shipping and Motorwarys of the Sea and Focal Points and Short Sea Promotion Centres took place on 20th-21st September in Brussels under the Chair of the European Commission Directorate on Maritime Transport and Logistics (DG MOVE).

In the first session the Promotion of Short Sea Shipping was discussed. The Chairman of the European Shortsea Network (ESN), Mr Godwin Xerri, of the Malta Shortsea Promotion Centre (MSPC) spoke about “Shortsea Shipping Revisited – Strategic update and the way forward”. In his presentation Mr Xerri welcomed the continued commitment of the EU Commission to Shortsea Shipping (SSS) as evidenced both in the Athens and lately in the Valletta Declaration. He also praised the money invested by the EU for programmes like Marco Polo and Ten-T which are aimed at promoting a modal shift towards a more environmentally friendly transport choice. He explained that the EU had agreed that SSS offers a set of positive features that no other mode can provide especially in relation to the environmental considerations for movement of cargoes in volumes.

However, Mr Xerri pointed out that shippers could not be expected to move to a more environmentally friendly transport choice if in doing so, would result in additional costs. He noted that road transport was still by far the most used mode of transport and that  60% of European total transport investment went to road transportation, while 72% of the total EU CO2 emissions resulted from it.

Mr Xerri explained that for the EU to reach the goal of 30% modal shift, it still needed to reach out to the market in order to explain the advantages and to educate transport users. ESN provided the ideal network as the effectiveness shown in some promotion centres had proven. The ESN which comprises twenty-one member states (including Malta) is the official entity recognized by the DG Move for the promotion of programmes to assist in the movement of cargo in a more efficient and environment friendly manner. 

Other topics discussed at the two-day conference included the Financial Support to the EU Short Sea Shipping Sector, Environmental Issues and Digitalisation and Innovation in Transport.

Source: MSPC

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