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Motorways of the Sea as Part of the revised TEN-T Dr. G. Aifadopoulou Managing Director TRUTh S.A. “Lessons” learned by the TEN-T map Land infrastructure projects are “bridging” the major ports of EU Priority is given to rail and Motorways of the sea

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Motorways of the Sea as Part of the revised TEN-T

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Motorways of the Sea as Part of the revised TEN-T

Dr. G. Aifadopoulou

Managing Director TRUTh S.A.

“Lessons” learned by the TEN-T map

Land infrastructure projects are “bridging” the major ports of EU

Priority is given to rail and Motorways of the sea

The long “land corridors”are balanced by “long maritime” links

Sea motorways are “used” to provide alternatives to land bottlenecks but also “feed” major transit networks of EU

From the Short sea shipping to…. the Motorways of the Sea (1/3)

  • Since 1992 the EC has made short Sea Shipping one of the major priorities for European transport.

  • SSS raised a difficult economic question, principally because the relationship between demand (consignors) and supply (operators) still remains uncertain

  • The main factor limiting maritime solutions lies in the capacity to provide a competitive offer in terms of low cost and guaranteed delivery time.

  • Numerous experiments have had to be quickly abandoned and this raises the question of public intervention.

From the Short sea shipping to…. the Motorways of the Sea (2/3)

  • The White Paper aware of the limitations on the spontaneous creation of SSS services proposed to develop a system of sign-posting and support to encourage stat-ups through European funding (Marco Polo, Structural Funds)

  • A number of new SSS services benefited under the PACT program (1997-2001) aimed at intermodal transport projects.

  • National and European aid was used as an incentive for maritime operators in reducing their industrial risk and/or creating direct price incentive.

  • On April 2003 the European Commission adopted a 14 point program for boosting SSS, citing among others the “sea motorways”.

From the Short sea shipping to…. the Motorways of the Sea (3/3)

  • October 2003 extension of the TEN–T :“A new mechanism for supporting motorways of the sea is proposed to encourage joint initiatives by the member states to launce new regular transnational cargo shipping lines (…). It will give the sea motorways which improve links with island and countries isolated by natural barriers such as Alps, the Pyrenees and the Baltic Sea the same importance as motorways and railways in the Trans-European network”.

  • Greece, Italy and Slovenia strongly supported and achieved the inclusion of the Adriatic Ionian Sea motorway in the priority scheme for the TEN-T development.

What is a sea motorway? (The European Commission view) (1/3)

  • Seminar of European Commission on Sea motorways (January 2003)

    “….Maritime links to connect regions and provide links with peripheral regions, avoid bottlenecks, and provide EU access to world markets”.

    Although a new concept the participants recognized that it was still an “undefined concept” having similarities with short sea shipping but with an enlarged envisaged “function” within TEN-T.

What is a sea motorway? (The European Commission view) (2/3)

2.According to the Van Miert Report

“Genuine motorways of the sea are aimed at acting as a substitute of motorways of land, either to avoid saturated land corridors, or to give access to countries separated from the rest of the European Union by seas”.

This concept is valid for passenger and cargo in three maritime areas of Europe (the Atlantic, the Baltic, the West Mediterranean) by the use of ro-ro ships.

What about lo-lo/lift-on/lift-off freight transportation and the other maritime areas?

What is the relevant justification of land infrastructure development included in the TEN-T included for the same purpose with the sea motorways development?

What is a sea motorway? (The European Commission view) (3/3)

  • According to the Van Miert Group

    “The successful development of sea motorways will depend on a number of prerequisites or parallel actions such as concentrating freight, gaining the support of hauliers, shippers and forwarders, eliminating customs checks and other administrative burdens, the development of electronic reporting for Port Authorities, the provision of appropriate facilities”.

    However, there are no recommendations for ports and routes selection and the “prerequisites” cannot always be matched. Who will select the ports ?

What is a sea motorway? (According to the operators)

  • IntraEuropean maritime transport has a long experience on long – haul routes at best with daily departures (more frequent departures for limited short links).

  • Competition against road is feasible for journeys around 1500 klms.

  • Successful examples of SM are based on dedicated industrial cargo (cars, paper).Finland–Belgium,Turkey-Trieste,Genoa-Barcelona.

  • Good start up cases are benefit form Marco Polo aid.

    “Powerful” business cases for dedicated transport.

    Transport Market oriented approach should be followed.

What is a sea motorway? (Other definitions)

  • Richermont’s report:”the creation of links of general interest (Atlantic and Mediterranean) with the direct aim of extending territory to the sea.

  • Ministers of Transport EU MED countries (July 2003): A vessel operating on a SM (regular basis) is considered as infrastructure & as such is entitled to benefit public private partnership.  

  • Richermont’s report: the states should be the organizing authority responsible for defining services & then creating PP companies which would own the vessels.

    Quality of Service is critical parameter for defining the SM.

    The direct relation with the economy of the regions concerned is needed.

Changing perception and perspectivesfor sea motorways development

  • From the vessel as instrument to the transport infrastructure.

  • From constraints to complementarities

  • From cargo transport to logistics services

  • From a lorry as a tool to the intermodal loading unit

  • From transport market driven to public aid

  • From strategic planning suggested “projects”, to maritime solutions that are “structuring” the area in the context of spatial planning.

The case of the Adriatic Ionian Sea Motorway

The operation of Sea Motorway schemes should contribute efficiently to:

  • Relieve land congestion

  • Provide sea legs that offer as long short sea connections as possible

  • Overpass natural barriers

  • Diminish peripheriality of countries as bottleneck

  • Achieve cooperation between Member states and actors of the transport domain on national and transnational basis

  • Maintain regular SSS between maritime coastal areas

  • Serve real and dynamically developed transport demand and trade flows between ports

Objectives for efficient SEA-Motorways Schemes development in Adriatic-Ionion

  • Provision of efficient maritime transport service between ports which are able to act as cargo bundling points in the influence area of the Corridor

  • Development of the land transport infrastructure in order to achieve cargo bundling and combination of transport modes using as much as possible existing transport infrastructure and transport capacity.

  • Concentration on existing and dynamically developed logistics chains

Objectives for efficient SEA-Motorways Schemes development in Adriatic-Ionion

  • Development of port infrastructure in order to achieve interoperability of ports

  • Definition of a port’s synergy scheme by defining Port’s role and specialization, in the context of the Sea Motorway scheme, thus avoiding “useless” Ports’ competition and unjustified ports’ capacity development.

  • Definition of a Sea motorway scheme, which will “respect” the already made investments of the key actors of the transport sector (such as shipping companies) trying to create added value on the transport industry investments.

Selection of physical logistic chains along the Adriatic Ionian

Logistic chains segmented by O/D pairs

  • Greece – Central & North Europe

  • Black Sea – Central Europe

  • Balkan countries – Central Europe

  • East Mediterranean – Central and North Europe

  • North Africa – Central and North Europe

  • Central Europe – East and Fare East

    Logistic chains segmented by product:

  • Fresh and refrigerated (sensitive) goods

  • Agriculture products (olive, cereals etc)

  • General cargo

    Segmented by transport modes combination:

  • Black Sea – Central Europe: Rail – maritime - Rail

  • Balkan area – Central Europe: Rail – maritime – rail / Road – maritime - Road

  • East Mediterranean – Central and North Europe: maritime – road/rail- maritime – road/rail.

  • North Africa – Central and North Europe: maritime – road/rail



1,0 mil.t.

Major Logistic Chains to be served by Adriatic-Ionian Sea-Motorway

Selection of major Ports of the Adriatic Ionian Sea Motorway Scheme

  • GREECE: Igoumenitsa, Patras and Volos (due to the competitive time distance with the Adriatic Ionian Corridor following the foreseen direct railway and existing road connection with the port of Igoumenitsa).

  • ITALY: Trieste, Venice, Ravenna, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, Taranto

  • SLOVENIA: Koper

Selected Ports for Sea-Motorways Schemes in Adriatic-Ionion


  • The SM idea need to be further defined.

  • The main actors influencing the success of the schemes should achieve common understanding about SM.

  • The direct relation of the SM development with the regional economy prospects is considered crucial.

  • The efficient PP schemes are a prerequisite for economic viable scenarios.

  • Quality of service offered is a success factor.

  • The National or European aid in necessary for achieving competitiveness to road alternatives.



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