Brussels, 8 September 2011 – Visiting the port of Rotterdam today, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport announced his intention to bring forward in 2013 a package of proposals to help ports remain competitive and support the huge potential for growth in the port sector. The Vice President underlined his intention to bring forward measures: to support the reduction of the administrative burden in ports; proposals to improve the transparency of port financing; as well as proposals for measures on port services. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas commended the Port of Rotterdam for its leadership, high performance and its capacity to adapt to change. However he underlined, the major challenges facing hundreds of seaports across Europe and the need to create the right regulatory conditions to allow ports to thrive.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: “Ports are engines of economic development and sources of prosperity for our cities, regions and countries. But in the next 20 years or so, our many hundreds of seaports will face major challenges in terms of productivity, investment needs, employment as well as integration with port cities and regions. My visit to Rotterdam this week reinforces my conviction of the huge potential that our ports have for growth in the years ahead, but we need to tackle the bottlenecks holding back port development and set out now a more coherent policy on ports and maritime infrastructure. I intend to bring forward proposals for the ports sector in 2013.

Today in Rotterdam, Vice President Kallas stressed the need to address three areas:

1. Measures on port services

“Ensuring that there is a competitive and open environment in port services provision, for example, is crucially important for seaports to adapt to the new economic, industrial and social requirements.”

2. Support for measures to cut more red tape in ports

“We need to help our ports stay competitive by cutting more red tape; the Blue Belt pilot project, a priority programme which explores new ways to facilitate short sea shipping, is already helping to reduce the administrative burden in ports.”

3. Proposals to improve the transparency of port financing

“We must improve the transparency of port financing to avoid any distortions of competition and make clear exactly where public money is going.┬áThis will encourage more private investment, vital if the ports sector is to grow.”

Next Steps

As announced by Vice President Kallas today, a conference on the future of European ports will be held in 2012. Following consultation with stakeholders, and an in-depth impact assessment, the Commission will present proposals for the port sector in 2013.


The visit of Vice President Kallas to the port of Rotterdam today is part of the Commission’s review of the framework for the European Union’s ports policy as announced in the Transport White Paper published in March 2011. The review is looking at the challenges and opportunities facing ports in the period up to 2030.

For ports, the aim is to ensure the smooth functioning of the market for the provision of port services and to create the conditions for ensuring that in 2020-2030 the European Transport Network can cope with the expected growth in demand. Since the economic situation has changed dramatically, there is also need to revaluate the soft law measures approach. Ports are the main entry points of the network and can significantly contribute to reducing CO2 transport-related emissions. They have untapped potential for creating jobs and boosting the economy.

The Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s biggest port and the fourth largest in the world with an annual throughput of 430 million tonnes of cargo. Rotterdam is not only a transit port; it is also a vast industrial complex that contributes to economic growth and generates jobs for more than 86,000 people in the port and port-related industries.

Source – European Commission.


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