The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the aim of the Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan to ensure that the European Union can become an important player in the production and supply of net-zero products and technologies and a competitive player in these new sectors. ESPO also believes that a well-established net-zero industrial ecosystem in Europe is an important instrument for progressing fast and efficiently on the energy transition and reaching Europe’s climate ambitions.

However, for ESPO, such a plan can only deliver if the whole supply chain is considered on top of the net-zero technology manufacturing projects. The deployment of net-zero industries and the stepping up of the security of supply of raw materials and spare parts for these industries must be accompanied by a policy to facilitate and support the adaptation and upgrading of the supply chain infrastructure, particularly in ports, hinterland connections and maritime access needs in order to realise this ambition.

The importance of examining the supply chain needs resulting from the development of these new industries in Europe has been clearly recognised by the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) in its opinion on the Net-Zero Industry Act proposal, voted on 19 July 2023. The opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism can be found here.

ESPO welcomes in particular the amendments 7, 12, 28, 32, 36, 38 of the adopted text.

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the European Parliament, which has the lead on this file, is currently preparing the compromise amendments. ESPO is happy to see that similar amendments, reflecting the supply chain approach, have been tabled in the ITRE Committee and hopes that these will be taken up in the compromises and the vote in the Committee scheduled on 12 October 2023.

“To become an important player in the net-zero industry market, Europe needs to stimulate not only the production of net-zero industries and technologies but also the supply chain infrastructure needed to transport, export, store, import where relevant, the raw materials, spare parts needed for these industries as well as the finished products. We very much welcome the opinion of the Transport Committee of the Parliament in this regard. We do hope that the ITRE Committee will also integrate this supply chain approach in their report.” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

Several ports in Europe will, because of their location near sources of raw materials and/or new net-zero industries, see their activities growing in a short period. Many other ports could be ideal locations for these new activities. It is important to ensure that the infrastructure in the port, accessibility to and from the port is adapted following these new needs.

ESPO’s initial views on the Net-Zero Industry Plan are available here.

ESPO looks forward to continuing the dialogue with the Parliament and Council in view of achieving a final agreement that reflects these concerns.