The Federation of European Private Port Operators (FEPORT) has called for the adoption of a real enabling framework for private investment in the European Union (EU).
FEPORT claimed that the big challenges currently faced by port operators in the container sector are becoming “unsustainable” in the context of a regulatory framework for ports constantly changing at either national or European level.
The federation argued in a statement that the ever-increasing alliances in the container sector are trying to leverage their position to drive down handling costs, while at the same time expecting port operators to invest in new equipment to handle larger vessels.
FEPORT said in a statement: “Time has come for the EU and Member States to acknowledge the role of the private sector and to adopt a real enabling framework for private investors.
“Private port operators cannot continue to invest if the returns from investing in and operating terminals are not sufficient and if the rules applicable to port investments are constantly reinterpreted.”
The organisation handed out to Commissioner Bulc a document containing its expectations to policy makers during a stakeholders’ conference organised in Brussels.
The White Paper “2017, 2018 and beyond” was formally endorsed by FEPORT’s members.
FEPORT’s president Gunther Bonz said: “Taking risks is part of our business but this should not add up to other risks deriving from a non-stable and non-consistent regulatory framework. If the burden of constraints becomes too heavy, then private investment in ports and beyond will be postponed to the detriment of the European transport sectors.”
He added: “We are confident that the European Commission and member states will hear our call as it is a legitimate request that will benefit not only to private port operators but also to the whole maritime logistics chain.”