To promote the efforts made by different European ports to enhance the city port relations through innovative projects, ESPO decided in 2009 to give out an annual ESPO award on Social Integration of Ports. After the two first editions, it was decided to focus each year on one different aspect of social integration. 

The themes addressed so far are: Creative Strategies to Communicate the Port to the Wider Public (2011), Youth (2012), Heritage (2013), Innovative Environmental Projects (2014), Relationship with Schools and Universities (2015), Nature in Ports (2016), Art and Cultural involvement of the port (2017), Ports as a good work environment for everyone (2018), Transparency and the role of social media in reaching out to the local community (2019), and Enhancing the port-city relationship by encouraging innovators and local start-ups to be part of the port ecosystem (2020).

The 2021 theme was ‘Role of ports in the recovery of the city and the local community’.

Europe’s ports have been playing a critical and essential role for society and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic by remaining open and operational throughout the whole crisis. They have been key in ensuring that goods could continue to reach consumers and industries. They have showed the best of themselves and continue to do so. Europe’s ports are playing an equally important role in the recovery of Europe and are crucial to bringing back prosperity for the city and the local community.

On 9 November, Port of Gdańsk Authority won the ESPO Award 2021 in recognition of its role in the recovery of the city and the local community. The ESPO Award was handed out by Walter Goetz, Head of Cabinet of Adina Vălean, the Commissioner for Transport, during the traditional ceremony and dinner at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, which gathered more than 170 guests.

Port of Gdańsk Authority won the ESPO Award 2021 for its project “WE ARE – unification of local community of Gdańsk’s districts Nowy Port and Stogi with its old neighbour, the sea port”. Various activities took place under the WE ARE slogan to promote the values of cooperation, solidarity and responsibility. Efforts focussed on the residents of two districts of Gdańsk: Nowy Port and Stogi. During the longest lockdown, the Port funded and distributed 8000 meals to seniors who were most exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19, purchased medical equipment for Pomeranian hospitals to combat the coronavirus, supported local sports clubs to continue training, and supported two local initiatives.

Out of the eleven submissions received this year, the projects of Gdańsk Authority S.A. (Poland), Hamburg Port Authority (Germany), Port Authority of Valencia (Spain) and Port Authority of Vigo (Spain) had been shortlisted for this 13th edition. All the submissions are summarised in the ESPO Award Brochure 2021.


  • 2009 Port of Gijón (Spain) | Gijón Port & City Together 
    Special mentions: port of Genoa (Italy) Genoa Port Center –Breaking Down the “Social Distancing” of the Port.  Port of Ghent (Belgium) Project Ghent Canal Zone -Working Together on the Sustainable Development of the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal Zone
  • 2010 Port of Helsinki (Finland) | Port as Part of the City
  • 2011 Ports of Stockholm (Sweden) | Hamnvision 2015 (Portvision 2015)
  • 2012 Port of Genoa (Italy) | Citizens of the Port – Knowing and Living the Port of Genoa
  • 2013 Port of Antwerp (Belgium) | Heritage: The Breadcrumb Trail between City and Port
  • 2014 Port of Koper | No waste, just ressources
  • 2015 Port of Dublin (Ireland) | Port Communities Educational Support Programme 
    Special mention for Port of Guadeloupe Discovering my port
  • 2016 bremenports (Germany) LUNEPLATE 
  • 2017 Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes (France) | Port’Art  
  • 2018 Port of Rotterdam Authority (The Netherlands) | The Port of Rotterdam creates a good working environment for everyone
  • 2019 Port of Dover (United Kingdom)Transparen-SEA (Socially Engaged Accountability)
  • 2020 Algeciras Port Authority (Spain) | The Journey of Innovation - Traversía de la Innovación
  • 2021 Port of Gdańsk Authority | WE ARE – unification of local community of Gdańsk’s districts Nowy Port and Stogi with its old neighbour, the sea port
ESPO Award Brochure 2021 Pictures ESPO Award Ceremony 2021 Winner 2021 Booklets with previous submitted projects


Every year, one of ESPO’s member ports hosts the annual conference. Following 16 successful editions, ESPO’s annual conference has become a meeting point for European port industry and transport policy makers. The conference features very high quality speakers, allows for open debates on topics that are high on the ports’ agenda and includes multiple networking events in beautiful settings. It is a unique opportunity for industry, stakeholders and European political scene to meet, discuss and learn from each other.

This year, the ESPO Conference was sailing towards you: we took you on a Conference Regatta, crossing Europe from South to North. We set sail in the Port of Valencia on Tuesday 25 May. From there we sailed off to Ghent, where we were welcomed by our second host, North Sea Port on Wednesday 26 May. Our last port of call was the Port of Oslo, where we raced to the finish line on Friday 28 May.

The theme for this year’s conference was “Europe’s ports at the crossroads of transitions”.

At the ESPO Conference Regatta 2021, we talked all together - port industry, businesses, academics and, last but not least, EU policy makers - about the future of ports as part of a strong and resilient European economy and society.

To consult the pictures and presentations of this year's and previous editions, click here

If you have any questions regarding the 2021 edition of the Conference Regatta, please contact Anaëlle Boudry from the ESPO Secretariat:

The ESPO Conference 2022 will take place on 2-3 June 2022 in Valencia. More information will follow later on.


Speakers' presentations 2021 Pictures 2021