On 25 and 26 March, approximately 200 maritime stakeholders gathered in Venice for a Motorways of the Sea Conference seeking to identify challenges and discuss EU support for the maritime sector. Currently 47 projects are co-funded for their contribution to the development of the Motorways of the Sea (MoS), the maritime dimension of the EU’s ambitious transport strategy.
MoS Coordinator Brian Simpson hosted the event, reaching out to the maritime world for their thoughts. Through this and other MoS conferences, Mr Simpson is seeking to gather input in order to incorporate the key priorities in the MoS strategic implementation plan, which he will deliver early 2016. The Venice Conference certainly provided food for thought. High-level keynote speeches and four dedicated sessions were organised around the themes of efficient shipping operations, transport and traffic management, safety and the human element, and MoS based logistics.
Different presentations touched on the use of LNG in shipping and other environmental aspects of shipping. The remaining challenges in the uptake of LNG – considered a relatively affordable, abundant, and green marine fuel – included a lack of standardisation, adequate re-fuelling infrastructure, and an insufficient critical mass of vessels sailing on LNG.
The presentations of different projects showed that innovative IT solutions are being devised to inter alia increase safety and save time and fuel. The importance of technology and efficient information handling became also clear from the discussions on MoS-based logistics.
In the session on the human element and safety at sea, participants learned that there are no MoS without seafarers. Adequate and continuous training was underlined as being of utmost importance.
The Commissionannounced that in the coming years an estimated one billion euro is being made available for co-funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). However, maritime stakeholders were encouraged to also consider other funding mechanisms, including new innovative financing mechanisms under CEF or under the Juncker Investment Plan.
The MoS conference in Venice was the second of three conferences focussing on each of the three MoS priorities. The first conference, which took place in November in Gothenburg, focused on sustainable shipping. And the last conference will take place in Liverpool from 19-21 May and will focus on the integration of maritime transport in the global logistics chain.
The event was promoted by DG MOVE and kindly supported by the Venice Port Authority and the Port of Venice.
Media coverage of the event was assured via Twitter (#VeniceMoS2015). More information can be found on the official website: http://www.venice.mos2015.eu