Led by Jean- Claude Terrier, director general of the Port of Marseilles and president of the association, the delegation explained that 75% (over 19m teu annually) of the increased international trade of containers in the Far East – Europe corridor in recent years, is currently channelled through the northern European ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg.
They claimed that a combination of maritime factors and connectivity explained this imbalance between the north and south of Europe. However, the delegation believes that this situation reduces the efficiency and sustainability of the European transport system, which, in the long-term, compromises the competitiveness of the European economy.
“If we do not rectify this imbalance, the European Union will fail in its objective to reduce emissions by the 60% established in the White paper on Transport”, stated Terrier.
Intermed claims that various economic, logistical and environmental reasons indicate that a significant proportion of the trade flow from the Far East could be channelled through Mediterranean ports.
According its studies, if measures are not taken and the current system is allowed to continue, CO2 emissions from Asia-Europe traffic will increase 199% in the next 10 years. However, if Southern European ports become a real alternative for these cargo flows, this increase will reduce to 47%.
The presentation highlighted the fact that many multinational port operators such as Hutchison Port Holdings, CMA CGM, DP World and PSA, already understand the opportunities offered by the Mediterranean and have invested in facilities in Barcelona, Marseilles and Genoa.
In recent years, there has been an increasing concentration of logistics facilities in Intermed member ports, which can rival their competitors in the north. By 2015, Barcelona, Marseilles and Genoa will have a total handling capacity of 17m teu.
Intermed supports the new Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) proposed by the European Commission as an opportunity to improve competitiveness in Europe and redistribute the balance between infrastructure in the north and south of the continent.
It claimed that supporting Mediterranean ports will reduce congestion in northern facilities as well as logistics and environmental costs. Intermed also expressed its belief that improved infrastructure and connectivity in the south of Europe will lead to greater economic and social cohesion in the European Union.