May 17, 2020

EU Commission proposes upgrade of 300 key seaports

EU Commission
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Aerial view at the Port of Antwerp
The European Commission has launched a new initiative to improve port operations and onward transport connections at 319 key seaports along Europes coa...

The European Commission has launched a new initiative to improve port operations and onward transport connections at 319 key seaports along Europe’s coastline. The guidelines and legal changes being proposed aim to help port operators upgrade their services and facilities as well as giving them more financial autonomy.

Almost three quarters of goods entering or leaving Europe go by sea, yet one fifth of that amount currently passes through just three ports: Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp.

This imbalance between port performance results in congestion and extra costs for shippers, transport operators and consumers. According to a statement by the EU commission, the new proposals could save the European economy up to €10 billion by 2030 into addition to helping to develop new short sea links.

Key changes include: more transparent procedures to designate the providers of port services, priorty funding to develop the inland connections with ports, creates a new social committee to discuss and agree on dockwork-related issues, and extends the freedom of ports to levy infrastructure changes.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for mobility and transport, said: "Our seaports are vital gateways, linking our transport corridors to the rest of the world. We already have some of the finest port facilities in the world. We need to keep them. But we are facing major challenges in terms of congestion, traffic growth and investment. More of our ports need to reach these high standards. The proposals today will bring Europe's port services into the 21st century, help attract investment and create jobs where they are most needed."

Detailed plans

As part of the port optimisation, the commission is proposing more transparent and open procedures to designate the providers of port services, in addition to creating a port users’ advisory committee so local port communities can create a healthier business environment.  There will be rules to prevent possible price abuses by operators with exclusive rights

EU funding under the “Connecting Europe Facility” will have a new focus on port projects identified in the so-called TEN-T (trans-European transport network)corridor plans for priority funding on connections of ports with rail, inland waterways and road. Ports will be encouraged to play an active role in this, for instance by providing information on traffic flows.

The proposal extends the freedom of ports to levy infrastructure charges and reinforces the transparency in the way the charges are set and in the use of public funding.

Starting this June, the Commission will create a "Social Dialogue Committee for Ports" to allow employees and employers to discuss and agree on dockwork-related issues. The Commission will provide a technical and administrative support to the work of this Committee and will evaluate progress in 2016.

The initiative is part of the key action on maritime transport announced in the Single Market Act II adopted by the Commission in October 2012.

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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