Ports have been vital gateways for prosperity and engines for growth over centuries. While they constitute an important economic asset for their regions, they can also have significant negative environmental impacts.
Inefficient road traffic in port areas causing CO2 emissions has been much overlooked in the past It involves a complex network of different stakeholders engaged in various kinds of daily port activities, in particular in the course of transporting goods, operational and clearance procedures – all powered by CO2 intensive fuels.
Optimizing road traffic in port areas and developing strategies for smooth and efficient transport flows has been a crucial challenge for policy makers in order to reduce CO2 emissions. However, in most European regions, structural funds programs or other relevant policy instruments, have neglected to address this problem in the past.
By engaging stakeholders from administration, port related business’ and logistic business’ along the supply chain, SMOOTH PORTS’ aims to reduce CO2 emissions from port-related road traffic by improving regional policy instruments in a holistic manner.
To achieve these aims, SMOOTH PORTS wants to utilise the differences of the project partners’ ports through an exchange of effective tools and best practices. A key focus lies on finding optimal procedures for the clearance of the goods that are so vital for society and commerce – making their processing speedy and avoiding unnecessary burdens on environment and people. A further focus will be on the different approaches regarding Information and Communications Technology solutions for various traffic related port activities as well as on the question what alternative fuels can power port activities in the future.
Based on this, a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the respective policy instruments will help to improve the local policy instruments of the partners. This close and joint effort between the different authorities, public institutions and ports will produce a beneficial synergy from which all stakeholders benefit.
The expected key results are:
- to analyse and compare the project partners’ activities in the ports related to CO2 emitting road traffic, to understand why different paths and means are chosen to reach the same or similar goals and to work out the strengths, needs and potentials;
- to improve communication between various authorities and create awareness among stakeholders through showing best-practice cases to interregional stakeholders, how policies are handled and testing different tools during meetings, events or through the use of communication tools;
- to integrate lessons learned into SMOOTH PORTS Action Plans to improve and foster the integration into policies and making them thus more attractive on a programme level (measures to stimulate innovation in low-carbon transport area) and through project level improvements (such as possible follow up project applications tackling certain aspects of activities in the port, process innovation, methodology changes, or successful cross-border networking and clustering as a result from the exchange of experience);
- to foster a long-term cooperation network between actors across borders through the knowledge exchange and getting to know each other at the various meetings and through that understand the different approaches chosen;
- to carry out regional-, national-, EU-wide dissemination and promote the results from SMOOTH PORTS (an important part and means to do so will be the policy learning platform).