Trends in EU ports governance: Ports and their community

Trends in EU ports governance: Ports and their community

Developing the port hand in hand with the local community and key stakeholders

Port development is in most cases a responsibility of the port authority. For this, producing a masterplan has become a common practice. These masterplans set out the port’s strategic planning for the medium to long term and show the potential impact on the surrounding community. This provides credibility to the port authority when searching for public and private investors. Furthermore, giving key stakeholders the opportunity to raise their concerns and expectations is a crucial part of the process. Thus, in the process of producing a masterplan, the port authority involves public authorities at different levels, citizens, NGO’s and other stakeholders like port employees, tenants and users.

According to ESPO’s fact-finding survey, 64% of the European port authorities have produced a masterplan. The time frame covered by these masterplans is mostly rather long, ranging from 15 to 30 years. The plan must therefore be flexible and it can be reviewed and adjusted according to changing circumstances.

Building a beneficial relationship with employees and the local community

Many ports publish their corporate social responsibility (CSR) values on their websites and in public reports. The ESPO fact-finding survey shows that up to 54% of the European port authorities have a formalised CSR policy. Of these ports, two thirds even report on their CSR performance through measurable objectives. These commitments and achievements of port authorities are often published in sustainability reports. The stakeholders that are most involved in the CSR initiatives are the employees and local communities.

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.

Picture: (c) Port of Helsinki

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