Some 74% of the goods entering or leaving Europe go by sea, but one fifth of that amount currently passes through just three ports: Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp. This imbalance between port performance results in congestion and extra costs for shippers, transport operators and consumers.
London, Milford Haven, Southampton and Tees & Hartlepool are among the top 20 EU cargo ports, handling 170.6 million tonnes in 2011. The top performing EU ports are Rotterdam (370.3m tonnes), Antwerp (168.5m tonnes) and Hamburg (114.4m tonnes).
The new proposals could save the European economy up to €10 billion by 2030 and help develop new short sea links.
The proposal must be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states’ ministers before being adopted under the normal legislative procedure.