Officials from European ports are urging the government to safeguard the 31.7 billion euros ($42.9 billion) allocated for transportation projects under the Connecting Europe Facility when the government meets later this week to come up with an overall European budget for the next six years.
The 31.7 billion euros in infrastructure projects will benefit all modes of transport across the entire European Union, said European Federation of Inland Ports Director Isabelle Ryckbost. The investment will also trickle down to other industries like agriculture.
According to the 2011 EU Transport White Paper
, freight demand with soar by 80 percent by 2050, outpacing passenger growth during that time period. Researchers also found that the European transportation industry will need 250 billion euros by 2050 to keep pace.
The currently allocated money is but a small fraction of the overall projected cost, the port groups wrote in a news release. In addition, the needed funds compensate for cuts coming to regional transportation programs. The organizations foresee that transportation funding from the European Regional Development Fund will be reduced from its current level of 46.7 billion euros over the past six years.
At the European Sea Ports Organization, Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven added that 31.7 billion euros would be a 3 percent share of the budget, a more than fair allocation for a sector than accounts for 5 percent of GDP.
“Ports are real job creators and engines for regional development,” he said in a statement. “Moreover, as the main gateways to the world, seaports are essential to ensuring Europe’s economic growth.” - Jon Ross