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Monday, 22 December 2014 09:04

7 European nations-partners gave birth to the European Territorial Cooperation Group for management and protection of Southeast European ports

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The intensification of marine transport in South East Europe caused serious problems pertaining to the environment, in coastal areas, port waters and their surrounding urban areas. The high-impact process of matching coastal environment to human requirements prompted the European Union to react and to protect the environment in South-East European countries. It is in this perspective that the main necessity appeared: to set up a common ground Board of Ecology in order to control port’s activities and navigation. So the implementation of two specific research projects ECOPORT 8 (2009-2012) and TEN ECOPORT (2012-2014) co-funded by the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme was a significant step forward, improving environmental quality standards in the ports of Bari (including those of Barletta and Monopoli) and Brindisi in Italy, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Bar in Montenegro, Durres in Albania, Igoumenitsa and Patras in Greece, Burgas and Varna in Bulgaria and Constanta in Romania.

The Polytechnic University of Bari as Lead Partner coordinated the project TEN ECOPORT, going beyond the range of port authorities’ activities concerning the environmental management in South East Europe, and declared that the engagement of all Stakeholders and Port Operators was the first condition for sustainably running ports activities and services. As a result, for every port included in the project 10 working groups were made up of either representatives of Port Authorities and Research Institutes, or Institutional bodies and Port Operators. All the time these groups worked together towards the common goal: to find out and to implement actions and procedures for better environmental management of the ports. Thus, they came through the study and awareness of environmental problems of each ports, relative Eco-mapping, to the planning of a potential solution for any of the established priorities. Indeed, one of the main project results was the achievement of specific Action Plans focused on: Water Quality in the case of the ports of Brindisi (Italy) and Igoumenitsa (Greece), Air Pollution in the case of the ports of Brindisi (Italy), Igoumenitsa (Greece), Bar (Montenegro) and Dubrovnik (Croatia), and Waste Management in the case of the ports of Patras (Greece), Burgas and Varna (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania), Bari (Italy) and Durres (Albania).

The last two ports, as pilot ports of the project, set the Common Action Plan between Italy and Albania with the aim of monitoring waste management, in the ports of competence as well as along the route. In this way, Bari and Durres started to implement both common procedures and the waste control software, locating precisely possible containers unloading at the sea. All the actions regarding the main environmental features, the timing, the responsibilities and tasks of implementing bodies were drawn by each Action Plan. Such fact assured that 8 feasibility studies were carried out, everyone under an environmental management system, in order to improve the acts related to the specific activities of Port’s agent.

All procedural steps and studied actions verified and implemented within the project TEN ECOPORT were formalised by the last most important result: the Common Model for sustainable development and management of project network seaports in Southeast Europe. Therefore, Common Model was the final result of both projects, ECOPORT8 and TEN ECOPORT, summarizing their common results pursued by the same partnership and becoming the norm.

Moving in this shared perspective, Port Authorities, Universities and Research Institutes outlined on 17 December 2014, in the Council Hall of the Polytechnic University of Bari, an agreement for the establishment of the European Territorial Cooperation Group at the end of the project. The Task Force TEN ECOPORT aims to improve sustainable development of the environment in coastal and port areas by providing the necessary tools and politics to efficiently support technological innovation and environmental sustainability of Trans-European sea transport network.

The establishment of the European Territorial Cooperation Group, Task Force TEN ECOPORT, will allow the partners to act as an independent consultant, apart from the organizations of the EU, Port Authorities, Public Administrations, Enterprises, Municipal Authorities and all Stakeholders in the field of environmental protection and management of coastal and port areas. It will provide useful tools and politics of efficient innovation to the relevant institutions for environmental sustainability of Trans-European Network Corridors. 

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To work jointly on eco-routes


To provide the decision-makers with the useful tools & policies that will help them plan the future common model for the efficiency of the Trans-European Network corridors