European Transport Policy Instruments and Actor's Attitudes in Specific Markets: The Case of Motorways of the Sea in the East Mediterranean

European Transport Policy Instruments and Actor's Attitudes in Specific Markets: The Case of Motorways of the Sea in the East Mediterranean


S Kapros, University of the Aegean, GR


This paper aims at assessing the applicability of the European policy framework concerning the development of Motorways of the Sea (MoS) in the case of the Eastern Mediterranean region.


The policy concept of Motorways of the Sea (MoS) has been introduced in the White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010, issued on 2001 and revised in 2006. MoS aim at introducing new, integrated intermodal maritime-based logistics chains with high quality maritime links to connect the limited number of selected ports that are located at strategic points on European coastlines. These chains will be more sustainable, and should be commercially more efficient than road-only transport. Realizing such routes should bring substantial modal shift of freight traffic from congested roads to key combined ?land-maritime routes?. In connection to the MoS concept fuller use will have to be made not only of maritime transport resources, but also of the potential of rail and inland waterways, as part of an integrated transport chain. This is the Community added value of the motorways of the sea. From a more perspective view, the MoS should be seen as the ?floating infrastructure? that links selected ports in different Member States.

Official documents of European Transport Policy more concretely defined four MoS corridors, namely the Motorways of the Baltic Sea, the Motorways of the Sea of Western Europe, the Motorways of the Sea of the South-West Europe and the Motorways of the Sea of the South-East Europe, the latter being most usually called as ?Eastern Mediterranean MoS? (Priority Project no 21 of the TEN-T). To promote the MoS concept and implement MoS projects, the European Commission has developed a number of funding mechanisms, combined with a set of procedures. The overall policy framework for the development of MoS is common in Europe.

However, past experience from policy applications for the promotion of other forms of intermodal transport (e.g. rail-road) revealed that international comparisons show a great variety in modal split and of modal shift results. Such differences have yet to be explained but, considering they affect otherwise comparable countries (concerning the type and level of development), they induce to think that freight organisation strongly depends on the context where it takes place and not on a universal, uniform mechanism. The four European regions concerned by the MoS development present a large variety of contexts, market characteristics, traffic flow patterns and other regional specificities that will strongly affect the applicability of the MoS policy framework in each region.

The main objective of this paper is to assess if the MoS dedicated policy instruments (funding mechanisms and other incentives) are able to substantially activate modal shift procedures and establish new market segments in Europe. The paper is particularly focused on the Eastern Mediterranean region. To achieve its objective, the paper adopts a ?critical? analysis on the basis of two inter-related methodological processes: a) the analysis of the policy and institutional framework concerning the development of MoS (?top-down? approach) and b) a field survey in the transport market, based on interviews with stakeholders such as port authorities, maritime transport operators and potential users of MoS services (?bottom-up? approach). The survey aimed at identifying the actors? attitudes towards the development of MoS through the analysis of their needs and strategies.

Therefore, the paper investigates the applicability of the general MoS policy framework in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The central question of the whole analysis is how to strengthen a ?policy driven? new modal competition, which very partially exists nowadays in the market. The paper identifies and analyses a number of geographical, operational, technical and market barriers to the development of the MoS in the region. It pays particular attention to problems of market acceptance of MoS policy instruments and explains the reasons behind. It concludes that an enlargement of the MoS policy framework is needed. A number of policy recommendations are presented in the perspective to overcome the identified obstacles and promote an efficient and viable MoS network in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Association for European Transport