Port Integration

The ever-increasing volume of traffic filling Europe's roads and towns is a huge challenge - for citizens, for the economy and for industry.

In stark contrast, coastal shipping, inland waterway and rail options are not used anywhere near to their full potential.

If we are to address this imbalance and the environmental impacts it creates, we must develop integrated strategies for the whole transport chain. As part of this, we need to optimise the interface and links between maritime transport and hinterland transport operators - including road, rail and inland waterways. It is also vital to make more efficient use of trucks.

These are the core concerns of the EU project Port Integration, which is focusing on:

- A more reliable combination and coordination of individual transport operators and modes.

- More effective communication of what such transport opportunities can offer.

- Improved communication between all actors in the supply chain.
As the link between sea and hinterland, our sea ports are the ideal starting point for the integration and optimisation of transport chains. Ports can contribute to the strengthening of maritime transport, the use of low-carbon transport options, as well as the quality and efficiency of port services.

Making improvements in the logistics chain doesn't just mean investment - it requires the knowledge and expertise of the partners. Port Integration aims to get the message across to key decision-makers in the political, economic and management fields. These key people need to understand the operations, concerns and priorities of the logistics world.

How do we achieve this? We need a multi-level strategy which takes into account the ecological, economic, legal and political aspects. Decisions on transport routes must be rooted in transparency, planning security and the right cost/achievement ratio.

The creation of new relationships and synergies between the public and private sectors through the development of strategies and the preparation of investments offers far more promise in an international frame - because successful models can be transferred from one region to others.

Port Integration is seeking to:

- Identify, exchange and transfer best practices in the transport sector.

- Use what is learned in developing the integration of coherent economic measures and political measures.

- Concentrate on transport chains as a whole, looking for best practice in both maritime and hinterland transport and combining relevant strategies.

Alongside these key objectives, we have identified a set of sub-objectives:

- The improvement of maritime transport corridors - for example, by strengthening the'E-Maritime' concepts.

- The development of innovative and sustainable multimodal structures and logistics concepts (hinterland gateways, dryports, etc.).

The multi-level approach will include actors from regional/sub-national level up to EU level in the field of environmental protection, transport policy and foreign trade. Politicians, chambers of commerce and industry representatives in all participating regions will be involved in promoting and implementing Port Integration's environmental and economic goals.

The participation of partners from most European regions and Russia underlines the project's multi-level approach and its interregional character.

Together, we will take significant steps towards an environmentally sustainable and commercial approach, in order to achieve better transport practices in Europe.

Predecessor project (2005-2010):

The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union's Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.