9 November 2017
The British Ports Association today joined port representatives from across Europe at a special conference to mark the completion of the European Sea Ports Organisation’s PORTOPIA project.
Hosted in Brussels, the event was an opportunity for PORTOPIA’s coordinators and participating ports to reflect on project’s four year transition and consider the next steps for the port performance initiative. Delegates were presented with details of the findings and achievements behind the EU-funded programme. These included a new data service cloud, digitalised ‘Rapid Exchange System’ port throughput platform and new reporting on environmental performance tool and analysis of port governance trends.
Commenting on the project, the British Ports Assoication’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, highlighted the contribution that a number of leading European ports and ESPO itself, had made to the initiative:
“For those involved in the PORTOPIA project this has been quite a journey and not an easy task. It has brought a wide variety of ports and associations together to collaborate and explore what in the way of performance benchmarking is possible in a competitive port environment.
The challenge will now be to encourage ports to participate and feed into the new ‘digitalised’ ESPO Rapid Exchange System and make use of the new environmental performance tool and governance analysis. We are already looking at how we can support ESPO drive this forward.”
The PORTOPIA project was conceived following calls by the European Commission for greater understanding of the collective performance of the European ports industry. The ‘Final Event’ conference was held in Brussels alongside the 9th ESPO Annual Award and Mr Ballantyne also took the opportunity to congratulate the Port of Guadeloupe for winning the 2017 edition:
“Many congratulations to Guadeloupe Ports Caraïbes for their excellent initiative and a thoroughly deserved victory. The project was genuine, meaningful and a great example to others.”
The French territorial port beat a number of ports to win this year’s ‘Art and Cultural involvement of the port’ themed ESPO Award. Guadeloupe Ports Caraïbes won the Award for the inspirational ‘Port’Art’ project which was intended to appeal to a ‘grassroots audience’ and address day-to-day challenges faced by the port and its community. Ports from across Europe were present at the ceremony which was held at “La Tentation” in Brussels and sponsored by the TT Club.