DSC_0091The “Ports towards Accessibility and Sustainable Maritime Transport in the Mediterranean” event, jointly organised by the Intermediterranean Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the Junta of Andalucía, the University and the Port of Malaga, was held last April 14, 2015 in the Institute of Port Studies in Malaga.

In the framework of the COM&CAP MarInA-Med project (Med Programme 2007-2013), the Med Maritime Projects present, namely SMART-PORT, CoRINThos, TOURMEDASSETS, Med-IAMER, MERMAID, POSEIDON and CAIMANs, exposed some of their preliminary results and recommendations to the New MED Cooperation Programme (2014-2020) with regard to the economic added value of Ports and Maritime transport in the Mediterranean and European economies, as well as their sustainability aspects and environmental impacts.

The contributions highlighted that Ports are key to developing sectors such as for example Blue energies (improvement of energy efficiency in ports and onboard, development of better energy connections with land,…) and Sustainable Tourism (connections to tourism infrastructures, improvement of the “image” of the cities by enhancing the sustainability of tourist activities,…). To better assess these elements, it appears that the evaluation of Port activities needs nonetheless to be better monitored. For instance, by including breakdown analyses by port activities (and not only container activities), harmonising protocols and data, performing a more thorough control of energy consumption and relative costs, developing R&D as well as the exchange of information to stimulate innovation, among other examples.

On the technical side, the Med Maritime Projects stressed that maritime transport in the Western Mediterranean exerts high environmental pressures originating mostly from sea transit, cruise ships, port activities of major commercial and passenger ports, while regional ferry traffic in the Adriatic-Ionian region produces a high occurrence of accidents and oils spills. With regard to the reduction of air pollution pressures, Ports would therefore need to adapt to low-sulphur content fuels or use alternative fuels (Liquid Natural Gas), and/or enhance transportation of freight supplies through pipes to platforms/their next transportation modes to mitigate the risks related to air pollution.

Last but not least, at environmental policy level concerning air quality monitoring, the Med Maritime projects underlined that the concentration of ultrafine particles and nanoparticles is not yet encompassed in European policy. Future actions could therefore involve reduction strategies for other pollutants (like NO2) by including them in Air Quality Standards.

Adding to the debates of the seminar, three side events were organised. The first, held on April 13, was the meeting of the Working Group of the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission on “Transport and Integrated Maritime Policy”, during which the Member Regions exposed the good practices and challenges they faced with regard to connectivity of their respective territories to the TEN-T. The second side event, held the following day and complementary to the first , flagged up the potential further TEN-T connections to be established in the basin to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of Maritime Transport as well as the financial instruments available to achieve this. The intervention of the Union for the Mediterranean also stressed the importance of linking the TEN-T to the South of the Mediterranean. The third and last side event was a stakeholder consultation led by the Med-IAMER project on “trans-boundary mechanisms to mitigate environmental risks” as applied to Maritime Transport and Marine Protected Areas.

More information and further results on www.medmaritimeprojects.eu.