EU Proposals to Improve Port Infrastructure and Efficiency and the Industry's Perceptions: the Cases of British and Greek Ports



EU Proposals to Improve Port Infrastructure and Efficiency and the Industry's Perceptions: the Cases of British and Greek Ports

Authors

PALLIS A A, University of Bath, UK

Description

As Short Seas Shipping becomes one of the principal means towards "sustainable mobility", sea-ports are emerging as an important focal point in the European Common Transport Policy (CTP). In its first report on "The Development of Short-Sea Shipping in Eu

Abstract

As Short Seas Shipping becomes one of the principal means towards "sustainable mobility", sea-ports are emerging as an important focal point in the European Common Transport Policy (CTP). In its first report on "The Development of Short-Sea Shipping in Europe" (1995), the Commission of the EU highlights the improvement of the European ports' infrastructure and efficiency as one of the priority areas for action. Transparency of port tariffs, competition, safety and environmental issues, funds for infrastructure modernisation and inclusion of ports in the trans-European networks are the main topics of the current EU policy-makers' agenda.

Studies of the CTP suggest that the policy demand, the demand flow, by the industry will be an influential parameter of the final policy outcome. In this vein, this paper explores the views of the sea-port industry regarding the EU policy-makers and the industry on the direction of the EU policies. It examines whether an homogenous pan-European approach would be feasible and, if not, which of the different port features -i.e., ownership, size, specialisation on particuIar types of trade - will result in divergent policy expectations.

To reach the answers, the paper focuses on the opinion of the sea-port industry in two countries, Greece and the .UK; two cases representing the diversity of the contemporary planning and operating philosophies within the EU. A qualitative research technique - semi- structured interviews with port authorities, operators and employer - is employed to perceive the industry's opinions, and their grounding. ,_j

We question:
which of the proposed initiatives do the industry believe could enhance its competitiveness and why; which of them are considered as an unfavourable development, and why.

The paper discusses the state of the industry in these two countries (using diagrams to illustrate the different ways of organising the port activities, along with descriptive statistics); reviews the developments of the EU-policy proposals and the ways that this on-going work is impinging on the sea-port activities, presents and compares the results of the interview process; concludes on the convergence, or divergence, of the views within the industry and between the industry and the Policy-makers; and draws the grounding of this convergence, or divergence.

Publisher

Association for European Transport