The Green Paper on Ports and Maritime Infrastructure of December 1997 (GRP-001) intended to launch a debate on the efficiency of seaports and maritime infrastructure, on the integration of ports in the Trans-European Networks (TEN-T) and on the application of EU competition rules in the port sector. Thanks to this Green Paper, for the first time, particular attention was paid to seaports on EU level for the first time.
The Green Paper pointed out the important role of seaports in TEN-T and pleaded for Short Sea Shipping and its integration in a multimodal transport system. The Green Paper also emphasised Maritime Safety. In addition, there was substantial focus on the financing of ports. On this point, the Green Paper ascertained that the way port charges are calculated vary widely between Member States. This is linked to large differences in ownership and organisational structures. Ports are evolving into commercial entities that are supposed to charge their costs to port users. The Green Paper also raised the lack of transparency in port accounts, which is a key condition for the application of State Aid rules.
Another crucial issue in the Green Paper was the organisation of market access. This part formed the basis for the European Commission’s proposals for a Port Services Directive (see chapter 2).
Content-wise, the Green Paper on Sea Ports and Maritime Infrastructure is now largely outdated, but it remains a milestone in the history of the European Ports Policy. For further information on the current status of European-Ports Policy we refer to chapter 5, “European Port Policy?? (TEN).
Some relevant documents:
GRP-001: Green Paper on Ports and Maritime Infrastructure (European Commission)