Despite bad weather and difficult travel conditions 120 participants made it to the conference Shortsea 13, which was organised by SPC France (BP2S) with the support of the ESN.

The emphasis lay on practical examples with testimonials from a number of shipping companies (Mac Andrews, Brittany Ferries), shipping agents (Worms Services Maritimes, BASBA), ports (Dunkirk, Haropa), shippers (Auchan, Calcia/Italcementi), forwarding agents and multimodal operators (K+N, Kukla, Samskip).

The European Commission presented an overview of its policy vis-à-vis shortsea shipping. PRB Associates introduced its Analysis of the « UK and Irish shortsea freight RoRo and LoLo markets ». The Quebec Shortsea Shipping Council gave its vision on the development of SSS in Canada (where an SSS conference was held on 18-20 March in which the ESN project was presented by SPC France).

An important item was the environment: SPC Norway led the debate, using the first results of the surveys of the ESN project (more specifically the expected impact of the sulphur directive 1.1.2015). It is striking that the use of the more expensive low-sulphur fuel is expected to rise. Although alternatives such as LNG, scrubbers, etc., presented by various speakers (Bureau Veritas, UFIP, MAN, TOTAL, Wärtsilä), are increasingly in the picture, fears are that they will “not be ready in time” for 2015. Almost all speakers feared a “reverse modal shift” because of the much costlier maritime transport.

The Malta Shortsea Promotion Centre was represented by Mr. Silvan Fleri of Combined Maritime Services.

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