Trends in EU ports governance: Optimising land use

Trends in EU ports governance: Optimising land use

Port authorities managing more than one port

According to the ESPO Fact-Finding Survey of 2016, 44% of European port authorities manage more than one port. The merging of neighbouring port authorities happened either bottom-up, as a result of cooperation between port authorities, or driven by government’s policy.

The trend of port authorities managing more than one port, even located in different countries, has increased in recent years. For example, Kvarken Port is a relatively new company that has been running the ports of Umeå (SE) and Vaasa (FI) as a single joint venture since 1 January 2015. The aim of this cooperation is to develop the ports’ market position in the Baltic Sea trade.

Land ownership

Almost half of the respondent port authorities (47%) own the land they manage fully or partially. For the other half of the respondents who don’t own the land, a legal framework is in place which entitles the port authority to manage the port land on behalf of the owner. These legal frameworks differ from one country to another. For example, they may include concession or lease agreements from the state, service agreements with the region or they may derive from specific laws or regulations. In these cases, the ownership of the port land is mostly in the hands of the state and the municipality. However, for one third of these cases, the land is owned by a mixture of public authorities and/or the private sector.

Background: Trends in EU Ports Governance

The information above was retrieved from the results of the sixth edition of the ESPO Fact-Finding Report ‘Trends in EU Ports Governance 2016’ that was published in June 2016. The aim of the report is to monitor port governance and organisation in Europe and its evolution over time. It is based on a web-based survey that was sent directly to individual port authorities. 86 port authorities from 19 EU Member States, Norway and Iceland completed the questionnaire. Together, they represent more than 200 ports and more than 57% of the overall volume of cargo handled in the European Union.

The PORTOPIA platform will bring an important value added for ports in terms of governance models. In fact, some of the fields of the ESPO Fact-Finding Report are going to be transferred to the PORTOPIA platform, allowing ports to compare geographical ranges, EU averages and evolutions over time in terms of governance model across Europe.

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