The NSC Transport group met in Kiel on 22 – 23 October. 20 persons from member regions in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and Norway, as well as two staff members from the North Sea Region Programme Secretariat in Viborg participated in the meeting.
Port of Kiel, Stena terminal and Fehmarn Belt
The first afternoon the group visited the Port of Kiel and learnt about its different terminals, cargo and passenger services and offer of clean shipping facilities. In particular the latter topic provided inspiration for the group’s work on sustainable shipping. The group also visited the Stena passenger terminal which is serving the line between Kiel and Gothenburg. The programme continued with a meeting with the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Transport to learn about the complexities and time-consuming process of implementing the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project between Denmark and Germany. The fixed link is scheduled to open in 2028, and will substantially reduce the travel time between Copenhagen and Hamburg – both with rail and road.
Key activities in the NSC Action plan
The ordinary business meeting on 23 October addressed the key activities in the NSC Action plan. The meeting exchanged information and experiences on recent transport developments, such as plans, strategies, infrastructure projects, investments and regulatory schemes etc. in the member regions. These exchanges are meant to enhance the opportunities for mutual learning and networking between the members. The task holders for clean transport presented an updated version of the report on “alternative fuels in public transport and other transport services”. The report shows that many regions have adopted ambitious targets and are implementing innovative schemes for low emission transport on electricity, bio-fuels and Hydrogen. Even more members are encouraged to provide updates to this report.
Hydrogen and clean shipping
The meeting was also updated on the initiative from the NSC Energy and Climate Change group to draft a position paper on Hydrogen – to which the Transport group has contributed. The intention of this paper is to raise the profile on H2 in EU policy. The task holder for clean shipping made a presentation with ideas on relevant activities for the NSC, and provided information on regulations and practices on shore side electricity and LNG. The clean shipping team will follow-up the contacts with the European branch of Cruise Lines International Association on the issue of shore side power in the cruise industry. It was also decided to invite port representatives to present their practices and activities on clean shipping at the common event with the NSC ECCG in Brussels in February.
Connecting Europe Facility
The meeting discussed the NSC & CPMR input to the draft regulation for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme post 2020. The Adviser also informed about the input of the Transport group to CPMRs reaction to the challenge of connecting Ireland after Brexit. The group furthermore decided to respond to an upcoming EU consultation on the configuration of the future TEN-T post 2023 which is expected to open later in the autumn. NSC regions in EU member states were requested to consider if they are in a position to promote & defend NSC-supported alignments, cf. the prolongation of ScanMed at Jutland and Oslo-Stockholm, towards MEPs and respective national governments up to the decision of the EU Council on the CEF.
The meeting heard an update on transport projects and recent applications to the Interreg North Sea Region Programme, as well as information on future calls. It was noted with satisfaction that institutions from NSC member regions are fairly well represented in projects. Members also briefly mentioned potential project ideas in the pipeline.
The next meeting of the group will take place in Brussels on 27 February – back to back with a joint event with the NSC Energy and Climate Change group the same place on 28 February.