DPN at the DC’s Expert Group on Ports and Port Operations

danube ports logo curbeOrganised on 9 March, the second meeting of the Danube Commission’s Expert Group on Ports and Port Operations brought together more than 50 European experts ranging from the Coordinator of the Rhine-Danube Corridor, representatives of the European Commission, CINEA, as well as Pro Danube’s fellow branch organisations.

Both the DIONYSUS project, its achieved milestones for the benefit of Danube Region ports as well as the Danube Ports Network’s (DPN) ongoing activities as a knowledge facilitator and project initiator were high on the agenda. One of these recent initiatives is E4Danube – On Shore Power Supply in Danube Region Ports. While an initial presentation reflecting its early stages was delivered in the frame of the first meeting of DC’s Expert Group on Ports and Port Operations in September 2021, this week’s event provided the scene to present and discuss a more matured proposal.

Representing the DPN Technical Secretariat, Mr. Robert Rafael highlighted the advantages and challenges of on-shore power supply (OPS) in the greening process of Danube ports considering the ambitious legislation adopted by the European Union in terms of climate neutrality. The aim of the project is to investigate the economic viability of on-shore power supply in ports, including the applicable sourcing options as well as the uptake by vessels and potential other users in the Danube Region. The presentation highlighted that several aspects such as environmental, technical, legal, and infrastructural requirements need to be considered along specific “port location types”: ports in cities, ports in industrial areas, and remote ports, whereas lessons learned from already implemented solutions have to be considered.

Given that the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy clearly states that “Inland and sea ports have a great potential to become new clean energy hubs for integrated electricity systems (…)”, best case solutions and applicable pathways for the deployment of OPS as well as for energy storage facilities shall be investigated. The relevance of this initiative is furthermore grounded by the NAIADES III action plan and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. Considering the ongoing revision of the TEN-T Regulation, keeping a sharp eye on its revised legal requirements is essential. The presentation furthermore touched upon another vital aspect – funding opportunities.

DPN’s intervention initiated a fruitful discussion among experts from the Danube-riparian countries in view of applicability, economic viability, and environmental impact. It was concluded that OPS indeed has the capacity to play an essential role in the greening transition of Danube inland and sea ports. The successful greening transition of Danube ports must be tackled as a joint transnational effort having the corridor approach as a priority, for which the DPN is ready to provide its full support.

The presentation is available for download here.

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