The CPMR has joined MEPs, regional representatives and shipping professionals to repeat the call for the Motorways of the Sea (Mos) to more effectively take peripheral regions into account before and beyond 2020.

Brian Simpson, European coordinator for MoS, and Patrick Anvroin, CPMR Director for Transport

The call was made at the latest meeting of the European Parliament’s Seas, Rivers, Islands & Coastal Areas (SEARICA) Intergroup, on Tuesday, 7 March, where members discussed the topic ‘Motorways of the Sea: The Conditions for Success’. The meeting started with a presentation of the Atlantis MoS project, linking Leixoes, Brest and Liverpool.

The Motorways of the Sea (MoS) concept, which is the maritime component of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) policy, aims to improve maritime transport chains across Europe, to improve access to markets throughout Europe, and bring relief to our over-stretched European road system

Attendees at meeting, which includes Brian Simpson, the European coordinator for MoS, along with MEPS, representatives for regions, and shipping professionals, agreed that the MoS concept must be opened to the 329 ports of the comprehensive European network, and not only focused on the 95 ports of Europe’s core network.

To achieve this, the CPMR continues to stress that a renewed interpretation of Article 21 of the TEN-T regulation, which defines MoS, is required. The CPMR will meet Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, in the autumn to discuss this important issue.

Speaking at the meeting, Gesine Meissner MEP, Chairwoman of the SEARICA Intergroup, said that the way the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) has been implemented since 2014 has resulted in an excessive concentration (more than 95%) of EU financial support to transport infrastructures on nine central, priority corridors. She said there was a need for this implementation to be rebalanced.

Brian Simpson, European coordinator for MoS, said that the European Commission wants to ensure better connections peripheries and islands and “to develop short sea shipping to bring in [the MoS scheme] for peripheral regions. He also stressed the need for clearer, greener and more effective MoS.

Pierre Karleskind, Vice-President of the Brittany Region, representing regions during the debate, said that regions want to add two pillars to the MoS Detailed Implementation Plan: modal shift and territorial cohesion. He stated that “accessibility means solidarity”.

Monteiro de Aguiar, MEP for Madeira, stated that “MoS are instrumental for territorial cohesion”.

A representative from the ECSA (European Ship-owners) said that positive steps have been made, but that administrative simplification is crucial in order to recognise the full potential of MoS, and that more EU funding and tools should be developed for the maritime sector.

Read the CPMR’s technical note “Motorways of the Sea (MoS): Contribution to the review of their  priorities & implementation, outlining its arguments on the ways the MoS could improve accessibility for Europe’s peripheral regions and islands.