Are European ports heading towards a green transition?

Paul van de Laar in The Parliament Magazine
Vrachtschip in haven
Cargo ship in harbour

Paul van de Laar, professor in urban history and head of history department at Erasmus School of History of Culture and Communication, wrote a short blogpost on how globalized maritime transportation hinders the green transition of Europe’s ports in ‘The Parliament Magazine’.

Paul points out ‘Gattopardian transitions’ – a series of strategic measures implemented to keep existing processes in place. Such transitions will impact the future of Europe’s shipping and ports, as well as its green transition processes.

At present, international maritime stakeholders acknowledge the need for structural change, but their intentions are to keep underlying systems and structures intact. Port authorities excuse themselves, claiming to have a restricted role in the mitigation of CO2 emissions beyond the port area. Their attitudes support strategies that prevent abrupt changes in the underlying structures of global shipping.  

The European Sea Ports Organisation, the principal point of contact between European seaports and the European institutions, has proposed measures to support greening policies of shipping and industry since the EU’s green transition goals were established. All proposed measures and innovations will improve water quality, reduce carbon emissions and other negative effects of pollution. But as it stands, no report or policy document on European ports in transition addresses the key question: how can we reduce the demand in global transport?

Read Paul’s full article here.


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