Europe’s Ports Need $85 Billion over the Next Ten Years

April 30, 2024

Source: ESPO
Source: ESPO

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has released the ESPO Port Investment Study 2024 which states that the investment needs of European port managing bodies amount to €80 billion ($85 billion) over the next 10 years.

The study, prepared by Dr. Peter de Langen in cooperation with ESPO, delves into the changing role of European ports, their evolving investment needs, and the barriers they encounter in turning the investment projects into a reality. The study is quite unique in representation, as it is based on an analysis of the investment needs of 84 port managing bodies, reflecting the geographical spread and functional diversity of Europe’s ports.         

From being multimodal hubs in the supply chain, ports are developing into hubs and facilitators of sustainable energies, clusters of industry and circular economy, as well as important pillars of geo-political and geo-economic resilience. The new functions of ports are coming on top – not instead – of their traditional roles. The investment pipelines of Europe’s ports reflect this changing and multidimensional role.

The study shows that next to investments in developing basic port infrastructure, port managing bodies are more and more investing to take up strategic and social responsibilities and achieving Europe’s ambitions. This often implies projects with a high societal value, yet slow, low and risky returns on investment.

Europe’s port managing bodies are fully committed, but need European support to turn all goals and ambitions into a success, says ESPO. These findings underline the need for dedicated port envelopes within the different EU funding instruments, in the first place through the Connecting Europe Facility, or a likewise funding instrument.

ESPO has called on policymakers to recognize the strategic importance of European ports and to provide a robust support framework that addresses the investment challenges they face.

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