Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 149

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“There are some ports that are already, and very successfully, turning
themselves into areas which connect to the development of Structural
Funds, and we know that offshore renewables, such as tidal and wave
energy, are just waiting to become the next natural stage in the evolution
of the energy sector.”
Siemers concluded his address by highlighting the fact that ports should
also incorporate reception facilities, an area which he said is currently ‘a
blank’ in that there is so much more that can be done in terms of making
those facilities more efficient, more accessible and more of a response
to what is actually necessary in terms of regulation.
He advised: “There is also a lot of work being done to develop ports as
liquefied natural gas terminals. This has two benefits: it can help those
who want to use LNG as a propulsion system where possible, and it can
also serve as a means of in-market share in something which will also
become a better energy source for road transport.”
It is clear that, alongside more traditional approaches to the maritime
economy, the Commission is increasingly taking stock of the role that
innovation and smart specialisation, such as that available through
propulsion systems, biotechnology and even offshore wind energy, can
play in the evolution of Europe’s ports.
Indeed, according to Siemers, this focus will enable the ports to become
more than simple hubs for transportation, evolving into clusters where
research and innovation take place and where the companies that are
involved in the various elements of the value chain are physically
close together.
Given that research also takes place in these locations, this is low
hanging fruit, and with the Commission’s aid, and the involvement of all
other actors, it may now take just one stakeholder to have the courage
to begin this process for the others to follow suit.
is focusing on in its work to bolster the EU’s
maritime economy. This, he said, is evinced
through the recent adoption of a directive which
outlines the use of maritime spatial planning
and which, fundamentally, argues that the more
transparent and efficient the planning of the use
of sea space, the more cost effective it will be
for those companies that want to develop
communities offshore.
The issue of duplication is also one that is of
increasing concern when it comes to efficiency,
Siemers argued, with much of the data being
collected with regard to maritime knowledge –
which, he explained, is similar to marine
surveillance and concerns connecting ports’
activities and data about the environment at sea
– having already been collected by others. He
said: “We need to connect this up and make it
more transparent.”
Horizon 2020
Siemers continued: “We are trying to actively
develop a connection between science and
business. We have very close relationships with
the new research framework programme
Horizon 2020, which provides funding
specifically across various areas for new growth.
We are focusing on smart specialisation and are
trying to foster the development of master plans,
which we hope will be the ones that can be the
most successful in a given region.”
He also discussed how the European
Commission is working with member states in
an effort to overcome some of the difficulties
posed by cross-sectorial boundaries. Siemers
explained that low economic performance is a
significant issue, and that they are now looking
at how other sectors can be brought closer to
the maritime economy and how activities that
are taking place a few miles offshore can be
better integrated into this, as well as how better
links with logistics systems can be established.
Development
While European policy continues to attempt
to improve port services, with much of the
work being done in terms of developing
infrastructure, Siemers said: “There is a real
potential for ports to go into something far more
important in terms of the European maritime
economy. There are a lot of other angles that
can be looked at, such as centres for the
development of innovation.
It is clear that,
alongside more
traditional approaches
to the maritime
economy, the
Commission is
increasingly taking
stock of the role that
innovation and smart
specialisation play
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