ESPO releases its new Trends in Ports’ Governance report

02 June 2022

Role of port managing bodies expanding in a more complex port ecosystem

Both the public role and commercial expectations are on the rise for European port managing bodies. This is one of the key messages of the European Sea Ports Organisation’s “Trends in Ports’ Governance 2022” report, which was published at the ESPO Conference in Valencia today.

The 2022 edition clearly demonstrates how Europe’s seaports nowadays cover a wider scope of activities and responsibilities than before. While there has been a clear move towards corporatisation for many years, the strategic role and public responsibilities have come to the forefront again: European ports were instrumental in guaranteeing supply of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe’s ports are an important element to ensure the resilience and security of energy supply following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they are central to Europe’s long-term energy transition.

In addition, the role of European port managing bodies has become more active in a more extensive port ecosystem. Beyond their traditional landlord function, many port managing bodies are active initiators, facilitators or even co-investors in areas such as digitalisation, circular economy and energy.

The 2022 report also highlights the trend of cooperation, either between ports, or with other stakeholders in the port ecosystem and beyond. The degree of cooperation varies from creating coalitions of the willing on a specific issue to full mergers.

Every five years, ESPO carries out an extensive Port Governance Fact Finding Survey. More than 70 port managing bodies covering 20 Member States participated in the survey which forms the basis of the “Trends in Ports’ Governance 2022” report. 

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