Great interest for the “Motorways of the Sea Forum” in Brussels


It took place on the 16th June at the Congress Centre Albert Borschette in Brussels, the “Motorways of the Sea Forum”, an initiative supported by the Directorate – General for Mobility and Transport of the European Community with the promotion of the European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea (MoS) Brian Simpson OBE.

The Forum aimed to better define the priorities and the future strategies of the Motorways of the Sea by collecting additional contributions both from players already involved into MoS Projects and from industry stakeholders further to the presentation of the MoS Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) at EU Parliament by Mr. Simpson in June 2016. The MoS DIP is an essential document for the European economic development focused on the following three key priorities or pillars: Environment; Integration of Maritime Transport in the Logistics Chain; Maritime Safety, Traffic Management, Human Element/Training.

MoS Coordinator is supported by a team of experts, guided by Circle – Italian company providing consultancy services for transport and logistics field and developing automation solutions for ports, dry ports, logistics platforms and intermodal operators – and composed by ADS Insight (BE) and ISL (DE).

More specifically, Circle is in charge of communication activities related to MoS, of the organization of the Fora (three of them were dedicated to each of the three pillars of the Detailed Implementation Plan) and of the Final conference, of the study on the “TEN-T MoS horizontal priority” and, together with other partners, has been developing the Detailed Implementation Plan since the beginning of 2016.

In addition, On the MoS Way, a digital multichannel platform dedicated to Motorways of the Sea themes – meaning Door-to-Door maritime and logistics chain, with a specific attention on LNG contents – whose main aim is to facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences in the field of logistics, freight and maritime co-modal transport, became since January 2016 the official portal for the Motorways of the Sea. On the MoS Way is the official tool for the dissemination of MoS Detailed Implementation Plan and contains a special session dedicated to the three MoS pillars.

Hosted by the EU Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea Brian Simpson, the Forum was divided into three parts: the first morning session was dedicated to contributions from EU Commission regarding the importance of MoS DIP and to actions to realize the future strategies on Motorways of the Sea; the second morning session displayed the presentations of the main strategic MoS projects co-funded thanks to the Connecting Europe Facility programme; the afternoon session, which was structured as a round table discussion, focused on different experiences coming from Industry delegates.

Mr. Brian Simpson OBE welcomed the attendees at the event, presenting the updates on MoS policy towards the political Detailed Implementation Plan, and recalled that MoS will focus on the reduction of land transport congestion, the increase of use of greener modes of transport, the improvement of transport efficiency and effectiveness, and a better accessibility to peripheral regions with the aim of covering all type of maritime freight operations.

The first phase of the Forum has seen the presentation of the following strategic MoS projects linked to the three MoS pillars (co-funded by the CEF programme) with Mr. Alexio Picco – Associate and Funding Director of Circle – as moderator of the session:

  • PICASSO – Preventing incident and accident by safer ships on the oceans

End date: June 2018

  • ELEMED – ELectrification of the Eastern MEDiterranean area through the extensive use of Cold Ironing and the introduction of electricity as a propulsion alternative

End date: March 2018

  • ADRI-UP – Adriatic MoS Upgraded Services

End date: December 2020

  • Motorway of the Sea Nantes Saint Nazaire – Gijon

End date: December 2018

  • ATLANTIS – Atlantic Interoperable Services

End date: December 2016

  • Blue Baltic – LNG infrastructure facility deployment in the Baltic Sea Region.

End date: June 2019.

The afternoon session featured a discussion of panelists representing different industry sectors (Administrations, Public Authorities, organizations, passenger & freight sea transport companies) including Jarek Kotowski, Senior Project Manager of European Commission, Patrick Anvroin, Director Transport of CRPM, Magnus Sundstrom, Market Department of Swedish Maritime Administration, Federica Montaresi, Head of Studies and Special Projects of Eastern Ligurian Sea Port Authority, Matteo Catani, CEO of Grandi Navi Veloci and Tapani Voionmaa, Group General Counsel of Finnlines.

“The way forward for MoS implementation in the current legal framework is through building the three pillars of the Detailed Implementation Plan. The central pillar is going to hold the whole structure by upgrading various MoS links all over the EU and better connecting the core network corridors. LNG will play key role under pillar one in greening the maritime transport, not only due to the agreed limits for sulphur emissions, but also due to two new agreed international obligations: the Paris Agreement for CO2 reductions and NECA in terms of NOx reductions. The third pillar has a key role to play in two important areas: safety and security of maritime operations, both in ports and at sea. Last but not least, maritime innovation and technological advancement of the sector remain an overall priority of the whole DIP and can best be achieved by combining efforts between H2020 and CEF” declared Jarek Kotowski, Senior Project Manager of the INEA.

Regarding LNG, Matteo Catani, CEO of Grandi Navi Veloci said: “The technical option is there for the newbuilding and we would take it in serious consideration. Operators in the Baltic already adopted this technology and cruising companies operating in the Mediterranean are already realizing their projects. The first have an extended infrastructure already available and the latter can rely on a certain flexibility in itineraries to call ports equipped with bunkering facilities. Differently, ferry operators in the Med faces higher challenges. Our vessels links two or three port maximum, thus we need the bunkering facilities or services to be available on one of the concerned ports”.

According to Patrick Anvroin, Director of CPRM (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions – the organization aiming at reducing the distance between the economic and political center of our continent and its peripheries, thus enhancing accessibility for those Regions that have geographical handicaps hindering their potential) “One size doesn’t fit all.

The MoS policy must adapt different contexts and better cover outermost and peripheral Regions in the future. The CPMR considers it should also promote modal shift, in implementing innovative tools, not yet available in the EU toolbox”. Asked on news dated 2015 announcing one billion of investments in the environment by Finnlines on bigger ferries (Ro-ro) and Ro-pax for the same year and on the results of such investments, Tapani Voionmaa, Group General Counsel of Finnlines, claimed that “The development of short sea shipping has to be reinforced in order to ensure its sustained contribution as part of environmental friendly, safe, and secure, competitive and effective motorways of the sea. Finnlines PLC, as the entire Finnish shipping industry, has played and continues to play their role in this development. Finnish shipping industry is proud to be among the leaders in these important efforts and remains fully committed to these efforts through concrete investments as we have done and will continue to do in the future”.