An atmosphere of cautious optimism was apparent when European port executives in the ESPO port association met in Gothenburg last week for their annual conference. Following a ballot, 78% of delegates felt that the worst of the crisis was behind them. However, although a long-awaited recovery of the European economy is gradually emerging after a number of difficult years European ports still face a succession of challenges.
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Yves Leterme said that the slow yet steady upturn in Europe ought to result in growth for the ports during the coming years. “Our forecasts reveal that there is potential for container traffic to rise to 90m teu by 2015. In 2013, the figure was 80m.”
In time, the European ports could face a whole host of factors that will impact on global transport patterns. The emergence of new ports on the Black Sea, the increase in traffic across the North Pole and expansion of the Panama Canal were just some of the subjects covered by various speakers.