The privatization of port authorities would improve the competitiveness of European ports

An investigation by ECSA shows that independent management would “optimize” the potential to contribute to the improvement of the competitiveness of ports.

Efforts to reform the administration of European seaports and escape from local and national jurisdictions must focus on making the port authorities independent, either through corporatization or privatization.

This is one of the main conclusions of the investigation conducted by Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of the ECSA. It is based on the comprehensive assessment of the reforms carried out in the Port Authority of Rotterdam, which in 2004 became a limited company.

Therefore, Verhoeven believes that independent management can “optimize” the possibilities of the port authorities to contribute to the competitiveness of their ports. With greater autonomy, its investment capacity could increase, attracting new capital and providing better access to private funding.

Cooperation with other port authorities could also improve and expand, therewith expanding their influence over logistics chains. Therefore, in the research, it pointed out corporatization as a means through which governments can remain shareholders, simultanelously acting on behalf of the company, in this case the port. However, “the subsequent management reform, including regulatory oversight, should not be neglected.”

The impetus for reform of this kind in port management should, according to Verhoeven, be a process from the bottom up within the port administrations, and have an important role reserved for the European Union. “The port authorities and governments should share the idea that reforming the functioning of ports will improve their competitiveness. And that does not only affect the main ports, but the entire European port system. ”

Therefore, according to the secretary general of the ECSA, the EU must be an “objective ally” in helping sustain reforms of port management. Stagnation in the development of a clear regulatory framework in relation to the application of competition rules and internal market “is of no interest to anyone.”

In this research, Verhoeven also reprises the role of port authorities, identifies the main trends in port management, and assesses the potential economic impact of these reforms.

Source: Cadena de Suministro