Blue economy is focus for Baltic ports

ocean The ‘Blue Economy’ is an emerging concept which encourages better stewardship of our ocean or ‘blue’ resources. Credit: Pixabay

Topics essential to the concept of the blue economy have been discussed at a conference focused on development of a sustainable maritime economy in the Baltic region.

Participant of the "Development of the sustainable maritime economy: opportunities and challenges for small and medium ports in the Baltic Sea Region" event in Latvia discussed how ports and communities can benefit from working together and a strategy for sustainable blue growth in the Baltic Sea Region, especially in the context of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

Organised by the Council of the Baltic Sea States Expert Group on Sustainable Maritime Economy (CBSS EGSME), the event, on 3–4 April, also considered the role of small and medium ports in the development of regions and municipalities was also discussed, in recognition of the impact smaller ports have on local economies.

BPO contribution

The Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) presented its approach to international cooperation and efficient exchange of best practices.

BPO was represented by a member of the BPO Comprehensive Ports Working Group, Villu Vatsfeld, the chief executive of Saarte Liinid Ltd, part of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) comprehensive network in Estonia.

A preliminary proposal was put forward by the CBSS to coordinate the direction of future general activities, concerning participation in various events and workgroups in preparation for the next EU financial period under European Commissions DG Regio, DG Move and DG Mare, with the BPO and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions.

Event participants also looked at the available financial tools and good practices for developing small and medium ports.

The term “comprehensive port” has been introduced by the TEN-T policy and defines a port connected to the TEN-T comprehensive network, representing significant passenger and goods traffic volumes. Comprehensive ports in the Baltic represent around 21% of the port market in the region.

There are about 76 comprehensive ports in the Baltic area. Therefore, it is vital for the development of the region that ports of all sizes enjoy a similar market and regulatory or policy conditions.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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