Position of the European Sea Ports Organisation on the Commission proposal for the revision of the Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the Commission proposal setting out the new guidelines for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Since 2013, European ports have been a strong supporter of Europe’s transport infrastructure policy framework, which recognises ports as strategic nodes of the network.
ESPO welcomes that the proposal, which was published on 14 December 2021, keeps the rationale of the current TEN-T network and places a main focus on stability and continuity of the network.
Europe’s ports support in particular that the Commission’s proposal strengthens the importance of the maritime dimension through the concept of the ‘European Maritime Space’ and by facilitating short-sea shipping connections, which are a sustainable modal shift option for intra-EU transport. In addition, ESPO welcomes that the proposal recognises the multi-dimensional role of ports within the framework of Europe’s TEN-T policy. It defines maritime ports as the entry and exit points for the land transport modes of the trans-European transport network and, most importantly, for the first time, explicitly recognises their role as cross-border multimodal nodes which serve not only as transport hubs, but also as gateways for trade, industrial clusters and energy hubs.
ESPO acknowledges the overall increased ambitions for the network, but is concerned that the currently available funding and financing instruments are not adequate to achieve the ambitious standards and deadlines. In view of the added element of urban nodes, the extended core network and new standards, including a new deadline of 2040, European ports stress the need for increased funding opportunities and the importance of a balanced funding approach between the different transport modes and nodes. The Commission proposes to consider the extended core network as “core network” for the purpose of the CEF II Regulation and the funding priorities. As the extended core network only includes lines and no nodes, European ports are concerned that an increased share of funding will go to the modes of transport concerned. ESPO calls for the European Maritime Space to be considered a priority both within the TEN-T network and for the Connection Europe Facility’s Transport Calls and to receive a solid share of the CEF budget.