The Veneto region port system in Europe
Over the past few days, the President of the Port System Authority for the Northern Adriatic Sea Region, Fulvio Lino Di Blasio and the Secretary General of the Veneto Authority, Antonella Scardino, have been presenting at European level the strategic lines of the Three-year Operating Plan 2022-2024 of the Ports of Venice and Chioggia; more specifically – together with the Vice-president of the Veneto Region, Elisa De Berti – they have introduced to European Members of Parliament a project for the new road and rail connection of the Venice port, as part of the Programme “Connecting Europe Facility”.
During the three days of meetings with major stakeholders from European institutions, one of the topics under discussion was the draft Regulation for a Review TEN-T Networks, currently being debated in the European Parliament. AdSPMAS suggested that the Motorways of the Sea should be extended to Third Countries bordering with the European Union, most notably those on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, including the possibility of accessing European funds also for ports in these countries, given the current geo-political situation and the need to consolidate EU relations with them.
Moreover, mention was also made of the future of ports as actual energy hubs, no longer serving just logistics and transport purposes, for the operation of European corridors, of sustainability, multimodality, accessibility by sea and land, the impact of COVID on the port industry, as well as of the future projects of NAPA - North Adriatic Ports Association, which is 2022 is chaired by AdSPMAS.
More specifically, during the ESPO Cruise & Ferry Port Network Committee, among the issues being discussed were the impact of COVID-19 on the cruise and Ro/Ro sectors, the review of the European Directive on Alternative Fuels, with a focus on infrastructures for power supply to vessels moored in a port, as well as the survey conducted by CLIA – the Cruise Lines International Association – with a view to establishing guidelines for the sustainable development of the cruise industry.
At European Commission level, on the other hand, the representatives of the Northern Adriatic Sea Port System Authority outlined the main projects and initiatives scheduled as part of POT 2022-2024, the three-year business plan currently being implemented with a view to enhancing the port capacity, also involving a Terminal for Motorways of the Sea and a new container Terminal in the Montesyndial area, accessibility by sea and land for better integration within European transport corridors, through projects such as the railway bridge over the Canale industriale Ovest, a hydrodynamic survey of the Malamocco Marghera canal, projects for developing infrastructures for alternative fuels and actions to implement the digitisation of ports.
In the course of the Veneto presidency of NAPA, AdSPMAS has brought to the attention of the European Union the projects related to pursuing and strengthening cooperation among ports in the Northern Adriatic Region (NAPA) in the light of the Joint Declaration being signed in December last year in the presence of the European Commissioner for Transport and of the Transport ministers of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, with full backing from the European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea, Kurt Bodewig. The European Coordinator invited NAPA ports to increasingly strengthen cooperation with regard to the contents of the “FIT for 55” action, namely energy efficiency, multimodality including its maritime component, and seeking greater efficiency through the use of digital tools; in respect of these topics, the new CEF (CEF2) planning offers wide-ranging opportunities for funding, which are well suited to supporting cross-border activities such as those carried out by NAPA.
These contents were also the focus of the General Assembly of NAPA – which took place at the headquarters of AdSPMAS on the 1st of April this year; on that occasion action plan for 2022 was agreed, which goes exactly in the direction proposed by the European Commission, to be presented during the forthcoming European Maritime Days and TEN-T Days.