03 January 13

Motorways of the sea policy in Europe

This paper, written by Alfred Baird and Xavier Gese Aperte, explores Motorways of the Sea (MoS) policy in Europe. The major objective of MoS policy is to shift freight from long-distance road transport to sea transport. The paper first analyses maritime and transport policies, and associated public financial support regulations concerning MoS at European Union (EU) level. Examples are provided of Member State funding schemes intended to help further develop MoS services. The paper discusses MoS as an economic concept, outlining the processes involved in securing funding for what are private transport infrastructure initiatives (i.e. MoS), unlike road and rail infrastructure which are for the most part provided and maintained by the public sector. The findings suggest there is a need to reconsider MoS initiatives and interventions in future in order to bring about sustainable and timely MoS solutions, to help overcome the challenge of road freight transport and to meet EU environmental commitments. As a consequence, a simpler and more realistic approach may be preferable to extend MoS more fully throughput the EU, one which is amenable (and understandable) to both users and service providers, and which also takes account of the ongoing disparities relating to public funding of transport infrastructure.

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