More than 1 200 merchant ports dot some 100 000 km of European coasts. They are key points of modal transfer and are of vital interest to handle 90% of Europe's international trade and 40% of the intra-Community trade. They are a key to cohesion in Europe, through the development of passenger and ferry services. Ports are a direct and in-direct source of more than half a million jobs, and ensure dynamism and development of whole regions including most peripheral ones, in line with the Lisbon strategy.
The Commission's action looks after the sustainable development of all ports in Europe, promoting industrial efficiency, reducing environmental impact and looking after working conditions and smooth integration of ports in the overall transport chain. The EU rules provide a framework for action that helps all actors to concentrate the efforts so that Europe's ports can face the challenges of tomorrow, attract new investment and fully contribute to co-modal development. The Commission's approach is based on close cooperation with all public and private stakeholders to implement adequate answers to those challenges and ensure the most harmonious development of EU ports.