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Discussing TEN-T and its consequences for the BSR ports

On 19 January Baltic Ports Organisation and TransBaltic hosted together a debate to tackle upon the TEN-T and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) proposals and their consequences for the Baltic Sea ports. The participants representing ports, port associations, regional authorities and transport ministries all agreed to that the dual layer approach to the TEN-T is a good solution. The long coast lines along the BSR Member States have resulted in development of many ports, sometimes making it hard for the national governments to prioritise. And here the Commission's proposal may be handy in addressing this issue.

The current TEN-T proposal includes 82-85 ports in the core network and 250 ports in the comprehensive network. While being in a core network a port may receive European funding for investments, it remains unclear of what it really means for a port to be included in the comprehensive network. The participants also highlighted some other factors to be questioned in the proposal, as for example the status of current Motorways of the Sea (MoS) links. The MoS, considered as vital for internal connectivity in the Baltic Sea Region, have been left out on the Commission's proposed maps on the core network corridors, making them end at the ports. While the Member States have been invited to have a pro-active role in the creation and selection of network priorities the proposal is of much top-down nature. Some Members States might feel that their national investment plans have not been heard enough by the Commission and it can also be argued that the bottom-up green corridor initiatives with real supply chain integration is a missing component. Some concerns were raised by the Polish Ministry to the 10 billion EUR earmarked budget in the Cohesion Fund dedicated to the CEF proposal. A cut in the Cohesion Fund money that should facilitate for new Member States to catch up on the development, might result in a backdrop in the old/new Member State integration.

Participants also emphasised that the dry port concept should be discussed as a TEN-T policy component as such facilities serve as an extension of several main ports.

Click here to view presentations from the debate that took place on Sorö/Denmark, 19 Jan 2012.

published 02.02.2012