We are delighted to welcome you on 25 and 26 April in the heart of Paris for the 20th edition of the Annual Conference of the European Sea Ports Organisation. This year’s conference will be organised together with Union des Ports de France, our host of this truly special, Olympic edition. The conference will take place at Comet Bourse, a state-of-the-art conference venue in the city’s 2nd Arrondissement.  

Also in 2024, the new normal will most likely be defined by disruption, geo-economic and geo-political tensions leading to more frequent disruptions to supply chains, greater volatility on the energy markets and a fiercer international competition. Adding to this, the need to act and progress on the ambitions and concrete policies that Europe has put in place over the last five years, it is clear there is a lot to discuss. So, reasons enough for the European port community to gather in Paris, for ports and port stakeholders to put their heads together and share knowledge, try to take stock and pave together the way towards a sustainable, resilient, smart and more competitive Europe, in which ports are playing more than ever a critical and strategic role. 

So, what have we planned for you? 

On the first day of the conference, delegates will hear from experts about the economic and energy perspectives for Europe’s ports. After these scene-setting presentations, three port academics will discuss how they view the future of ports in this world in transition. This will be followed by an out-of-the-box presentation on how ports could increasingly be the resource for the city. The floor will then be given to some port CEOs to comment.  

In the afternoon of day one, we will focus on implementation. Coming towards the end of the five-year European political cycle and preparing for a new Commission and Parliament, we want to take stock of what has been agreed over the last years, and what needs to be done to support the implementation of Europe’s policy and legislative initiatives in the most effective way. 

Be it on meeting the hydrogen production and import targets, on defining the role of ports when it comes to carbon capture and storage, on the implementation of the EU-ETS maritime, or on corporate sustainable reporting and due diligence, experts will explain where we stand and which challenges are to be faced to make it happen. Ports will share their experiences. The final presentation on day one will introduce the participants in the world of Artificial Intelligence, who knows, maybe the biggest gamechanger after all.

On day two of the conference, we will talk about investments. What is the investment outlook of Europe’s ports? Which categories of investments prevail for the next ten years? What are the total investment needs of European ports? The new ESPO Port Investments Study will offer a detailed insight in these questions. Secondly, we will focus on how all these investments can actually be financed. What is the role of banks in financing sustainable port projects? What is CINEA's experience when it comes to ports' projects ? What has the Commission in mind for ports and port investments when it comes to preparing the new Connecting Europe Facility? 

We continue the morning discussions looking at how to strengthen the resilience of ports given their strategic character, while at the same time support them further in their role as Europe’s main commercial door to the world. 

As usual, we will end the conference with a political debate, where we will take stock of the last five years and look at the priorities ahead. Speeding up on decarbonisation, enhancing resilience, strengthening competitiveness - how best to make this happen?

We already have an interesting line-up of confirmed speakers and more are yet to come. So, also this year’s ESPO Conference will combine eye-opening speeches and contributions with more hands-on practical sessions, and fruitful discussions between ports, port stakeholders and policy makers.

But also this year, we do not end a Conference day with the last speech. On the evening of 25 April, our hosts, the Union des Ports de France, invites us for an exquisite conference dinner in the Musée des Arts Forains at the Pavillons de Bercy, a venue worth a fairytale. 

So, many reasons to register now for the Conference,  book your hotel and start preparing to join us in Paris!  We are happy to share with you a list of recommended hotels in the typical Parisian style, in different price categories, all centrally located, at walking distance of the venue, Comet bourse. Since we are just a couple of months away from the Olympics, Paris is getting very busy. So do not wait to secure your accommodation!

 Click here to check the programme

Click here to register 

Pictures and speakers' presentations of previous editions Speakers' presentations 2024 Pictures 2024


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), Enhancing the port-city relationship by encouraging innovators and local start-ups to be part of the port ecosystem (2020) and Role of ports in the recovery of the city and the local community (2021). The role of passenger ports in ensuring a sustainable connectivity of the neighboring city with other regions and Member States (2022), Nature restoration projects in ports (2023).

The ESPO Award 2024 will reward circular economy projects in Europe's ports: the competition is open

Submit your project by 5 July 2024!

The ESPO Award on Social Integration of Ports is entering its 16th edition. The theme of this year’s edition is “port projects or strategies in the field of circular economy that benefit the city and/or the surrounding community”.

As multimodal hubs in the supply and logistics chain, nodes of energy and clusters of industry, Europe’s ports can play a crucial role in the transition towards more circularity. Their location in or near urban agglomerations makes ports ideal partners for engaging together with the city and local community in circular economy processes, waste prevention and management and ensuring that resources used are kept in the economy for as long as possible.

The European Commission adopted a circular economy action plan back in March 2020. It is one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal. The aim is to reduce pressure on natural resources and create sustainable growth and jobs. It is also a prerequisite to achieve the EU’s 2040 target of 90% net GHG emissions reduction, on our way to the 2050 climate neutrality target.

With this award edition, ESPO aims at showcasing the role certain ports are playing in making circularity work for people, regions and cities and inspiring other ports to follow their example.

The ESPO Award 2024 will go to the port managing body which has been developing a circular economy strategy and/or a significant circular economy project engaging the port as such, involving different stakeholders in or around the port and/or playing an active role in setting up a circular economy project with and to the benefit of the surrounding community.

The ESPO award winner 2024 will be the port managing body which is considering circularity at different levels as a priority and integral part of its greening strategy and is aiming at engaging all relevant stakeholders in its circular approach strategy to the benefit of the citizens and the surrounding community.

Project submissions have to reach the ESPO Secretariat by Friday 5 July 2024 at the latest. The application form and the terms of reference are available.


  • 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
  • 2022 Port of Barcelona Authority | Your Port opens up again!
  • 2023 North Sea Port |Connecting nature in Ports and residential areas – Ghent Canal Zone and Moervaart Valley

ESPO Award Brochure 2023 Pictures ESPO Award Ceremony 2023 Winner 2023 Booklets with previous submitted projects