The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE) has incorporated the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands into the subgroup “Ports as hubs for a sustainable blue economy”, integrated into the group of experts of the European Ports Forum Commission.
In the initial meeting of the group “Ports as hubs for a sustainable blue economy” or “Sustainable ports” participated representatives of DG MARE, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the European Boating Industry, the European Community Shipowners Association, the European Sea Ports Organisation, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Med Cruise, the Port of Cartagena and PLOCAN.
This subgroup of the European Ports Forum is open to new stakeholders and began its work with the presentation by DG MARE of the new Sustainable Blue Economy Strategy, which focuses more on decarbonisation.
The main tasks of the “Sustainable Ports” subgroup are to exchange information on policies and initiatives taken at the level of the EU, the Member States or the stakeholders of the port industry in relation to the blue economy; provide advice, analysis of the information and data available to the Commission on any other matter related to the sustainable blue economy (renewable marine energy, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal, maritime and cruise tourism, maritime spatial planning) with an impact on sea ports.
In addition, it will prepare the development of transport and tourism centres (transport, logistics and connections with other modes of transport, cruises and pleasure boats) and will establish common criteria for ports to be classified as “hubs for a sustainable blue economy”; as well as promoting the sustainable development of activities related to maritime transport, shipbuilding, tourism and marine energy, and other activities on the high seas within the framework of the blue economy.
“Sustainable ports” also have the functions of promoting ports as industrial centres for the manufacture of the necessary material for the construction and transport of coastal wind turbines, as well as their maintenance; and promoting coastal protection, coastal and marine engineering and construction, as well as “building with nature.”
The configuration of ports as key nodes for the interaction of the land sea and for exploring their role in the development of maritime spatial planning; and the transition to the circular economy in the port context, for example by improving waste management and recycling, are other tasks of the subgroup.
PLOCAN works mainly in infrastructure research and acceleration of blue technologies, as well as in the management of ports and their influence on the oceans, looking for new business models and functions that ports could have in relation to research and innovation; and testing technologies for green ships and digital twins, with many activities related to the ports of the future.
In addition, it considers ports as part of the offshore energy value chain and seeks to create synergies between offshore activities, maintenance and operations, as well as underwater activities.