The widespread use of road transport by SMEs in the AA has negative implications for the SMEs themselves, the territories and society as a whole due to the road network becoming overloaded and additional energy consumption. The increase in intra-community trade, the relocation of production to other countries and the subsequent distribution and consumption of products across Europe has been accompanied by an increased volume of cargo being transported by road: the relocation of the centre of transport activity to Eastern Europe has made the Atlantic seaboard less attractive for road haulage companies. For these reasons, it is desirable that the SMEs of the AA make more use of Short Sea Shipping (SSS) services in their import and export operations.
The main objective of the PROPOSSE project is to promote SSS via the ports of Aveiro, Gijón, Le Havre, Poole and Cork as a real alternative to other cargo transport methods for SMEs located inland, through close cooperation between these ports and the organisations representing the SMEs.
To achieve this objective, one of the lines of action defined for the project is to analyse the offer of SSS services available and the potential requirements of SMEs, focussing on the following activities: the study and dissemination of existing SSS services and the cargo capacity immediately available to SMEs; detailed analysis of existing and predicted SME cargo that could be transferred to SSS; development of Strategic Plans for each key sector identified; creation of a partnership with the hauliers and analysis of the way modal transport affects the sector in terms of designing new routes and the impact on the working hours for drivers.
Tangible results identified for this cooperation are the dissemination of the existing offer of SSS services, knowledge of the potential need of SMEs through studying the market and cargo flows, and consensus about the actions required in the SSS Strategic Plans to facilitate the changeover. Results also identified are the integration of road and sea transport by establishing a partnership between the different transport companies and, lastly, a better understanding of the implications and benefits of SSS, using the communication tools developed.
Implementing PROPOSSE is a substantial contribution to developing SSS as a central element for achieving a European system of clean, safe and efficient transport, increasing the capacity and efficiency of ports and port services in the AA and improving the connections between these ports and the road networks in the cooperation area.