Ports slam $15 billion EU funding plan


Europe’s top container hubs have slammed the European Union’s plan to focus US$15 billion of investment on other more peripheral ports in the Mediterranean.

The public funds were planned to be spent on improving transport links and to remove bottlenecks across the 28 EU member states.

An EU-commissioned report called for the funds to be used to interlink second-tier cities and to improve Mediterranean port infrastructure, in order to boost container flows between Europe and Asia, according to the Journal of Commerce.

However, according to the Port of Rotterdam, the report “clearly ignores some basic socio-economic facts, dominant economic trends, commercial consolidation and technology in [the] new generation of shipbuilding and port efficiency.”

The port authority added that an investment policy focusing on peripheral ports would therefore result in insufficient return on public investments.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, claims the funding package will help “remove bottlenecks, revolutionise east-west connections and streamline cross border operations.”

At this time it is not certain that all of the funds will be taken up as the projects must be co-financed by member states that have cut spending on transport as part of austerity programmes aimed at reducing budget deficits.

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