Working towards increased transparency
Like other public bodies and regular companies, port authorities have come under pressure to demonstrate good governance principles. The main principles demanded are transparency, openness and accountability.
The ESPO fact-finding survey shows that there is a significant increase compared to 2010 of port authorities who use internal analytical accounting systems (up to 86% of respondents in 2016). This implies that rather than merely balancing accounts, cost and revenue can also be tracked by categories and financial analysis is available per activity or investment. This is an important tool for transparency and accountability.
The 2016 survey also examined the situation regarding port dues which are the infrastructure charges levied to ships and cargo for the general usage of the port. 95% of port authorities publish information on the level of the general port dues. The official tariffs are often available on the website of the port authority. Furthermore, 86% of port authorities also provide information on the structure of the charges and up to 74% of port authorities publish detailed information on the services and infrastructure provided in return for the charge levied.
For the first time, the survey also explored how customer-oriented port authorities are. The results show that more than half of the port authorities already formally monitor customer satisfaction and more than one fourth monitors and reports on the quality of the service providers.
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.