Urban ports and societal integration of port activities

Trends in EU ports governance: Urban ports and societal integration of port activities

Ports are located in or close to an urban area

91% of European ports are located in or very close to an urban area. This proximity to urban centres can trigger tensions, so port managers need to proactively manage their relation with the city to secure their ‘licence to operate and grow’. Therefore, a majority of port authorities design and implement initiatives to establish good cohabitation and to ensure that the general public experiences and understands the positive effects produced by the port activity.

Finding the balance                                                                                       

One of the main challenges of port managers today is finding the optimal balance between port operations, and city developments and well-being.

To promote societal integration of ports, ESPO created in 2009 an annual award that selects the best initiative among European ports to enhance the city-port relations through innovative projects. The theme of this year’s edition of the ESPO Award on societal integration of ports is “Art and Cultural involvement of the port”.

The ESPO Award 2017 will go to the port that succeeds best in societal integration of the port with the city or wider community in which it is located, through involvement in art or culture. The jury will assess the level of engagement of the port, the innovative character of the involvement and/or cooperation and will look into the impact of this involvement in terms of bringing the port closer to the citizens and the local community. The jury will not assess the artistic value of the project.

The winner of the 9th ESPO Award will be announced during the official Award Ceremony and Port Night on 8 November 2017 in Brussels.

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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