ECSA: Shipping Companies of All Sizes Need Equal Access to Financing

A level playing field should be created for both small and bigger shipping companies with respect to accessing EU funding, the European shipowners told the European Commission.

“The Commission should make sure that small and bigger shipping companies would have the same opportunity to receive funding, it should increase communication with the industry in order to pinpoint the real needs, the award criteria of relevance, maturity, quality and impact should always be kept in mind and the selection criteria should be made more transparent,” ECSA’s Secretary General Martin Dorsman said during a seminar on EU funding this week in Brussels.

“Together with the Commission we want to solve the mismatch between the oversubscription of the Motorways of the Sea (MoS) and the fact that the MoS envelope is not entirely spent, but we also want to improve the visibility of the funding for the shipowners,” Dorsman added.

The Motorways of the Seas concept was introduced in 2001 as a means of reducing road congestion through modal shift. Four corridors were designated for projects, those being Motorway of the Baltic Sea, Western Europe, South-East Europe and South-West Europe.

According to Brian Simpson, European coordinator for the Motorways of the Sea, the time has come for the maritime sector to get “a fairer distribution of the EU money that is available and to take up its rightful place as an important mode of transport within the EU.”

“Ports and ships are a crucial element in getting our goods to market, so we need to see effective lobbying by the shipping companies, the ports and the wider logistics chain to their national governments if the maritime industry is to be taken seriously,” Simpson is cited as saying on a separate occassion.

Speaking of EU funding, the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) pointed out that despite the clear benefits of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a key EU funding instrument, it believes that a stronger dialogue is needed in order to assure that projects targeted at the development of the Baltic port industry gain sufficient access to the funding.

The BPO will take part in the public consultations on CEF2, starting in March 2018, in order to represent the interests of the Baltic ports.

“The revision of the TEN-T policy will also remain in the area of strong interest of the BPO. The annual BPO lunch debate, organized at the seat of the European Parliament near the end of April 2018, dedicated to this very topic, will feature discussions surrounding past experiences and recommendations for the future,” BPO added.