Conference “Motorways of the Sea – Efficient shipping operations” was held in Venice on 25th and 26th of March, 2015

At the conference “Motorways of the Sea – Efficient shipping operations”, which was recently held in Venice, solutions on how to improve the effectiveness of European programs, Motorways of the Seas – MoS, were discussed. During the conference participants criticized the underperformance of the program of “Motorways of the Sea”, and its minimum contribution to the strengthening of Short Sea Shipping. According to information of Naftemporiki, specific references were made, to the delays the current programs have and the need for their completion.

Furthermore, from the perspective of the organizers, emphasis was given, to the necessity of creating new proposals with a specific target, to expand the number of companies that benefit from the funding of the MoS programs. It must be noted however, that for the period 2004-2013 through the European program TEN-T more than fifty MoS proposals have been financed with 390 million euros. From the Greek side the President of Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association, Mr. Charalampos Simantonis, intervened and raised the issue of the limited involvement of the shipping companies in the relevant programs, both at national level and in the Eastern Mediterranean area, which is mainly due, as he assessed, to the limited and ineffective information for the long term benefits of their participation and the possibility of capitalizing the relevant results. In addition, Mr. Simantonis mentioned and the geographical concentration of the current Corridors in the Central and in the North Europe, while East Europe is connected with the revised network Trans – European Transport through the corridor Eastern Mediterranean (Orient – East Med), highlighting the current gap.

The aim of the two-day conference, which was held between 25-26 March, was the exchange of views and experiences between the current partners involved and the potential ones, in order to identify and emerge the prospects, as well as to seek effective solutions for the improvement and upgrading of the program, so as to respond in the modern challenges and boost the share of the shipping industry, the most friendly environmental mode, in the European transport system.

From the main speakers of the conference, Mr. Jose Anselmo – Motorways of the Sea Policy Officer, European Commission – DG Mobility and Transport, referred to the priorities of the program “MoS”, which is the protection of the environment, the development of an integrated transport chain, with the incorporation of shipping navigation and strengthening of the maritime security, the improvement of traffic and the development of human resources. It must be noted that since 2001 that the program MoS started, it has never achieved its goals, despite the fact that over 2 billion euro have been invested all these years. During the course of the conference Mr. Simantonis together with Mr. Panayiotis Zacharioudakis, R&D Director of Ocean Finance Ltd, and with other partners who participate in the program Poseidon-MED, had the chance to discuss with Mr. Anselmo and focus further on issues related to the region of Eastern Mediterranean. Mr. Anselmo referred to the possibilities of the revised program and the intention to support new integrated proposals with geographical orientation. It must be noted that the program Costa II East / Poseidon – MED, is the only Greek program funded under the “MoS” and which explores the pre-conditions and circumstances for setting up a network of transport infrastructure, distribution and supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as shipping fuel in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Mr. Zacharioudakis (Ocean Finance Ltd), as a member of the program, was among the speakers at the conference where he presented the broad outlines of the project. HSSA, participates as a partner in this program.