The final conference of the OPTIMED project “Rationalising Mediterranean Sea Ways from Southern-Eastern to Northern-Western ports” took place on 18th December in Barcelona at the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), gathering more than 50 delegates.
The event, organized by the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon (CCIABML) with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), has welcomed all the OPTIMED Project’s partners, the main delegates from the governmental institutions of the territories involved in the project as well as experts and technicians of the field.
The conference has been the occasion to present the main outputs and results achieved during the 2 years of the implementation of the OPTIMED project and to discuss the future prospects. During the conference, Mr. Salvatore d’Alfonso, Senior Programme Manager for the Transport and Urban Development Division of the UfM, highlighted the importance of the continuity of the project as a good opportunity to foster cooperation in the Mediterranean area.
“OPTIMED is an ambitious project that leaves important signs in the region. In a period of political, economic and development choices, decisive and binding, cross-border cooperation can make a strong contribution to the improvement of international relations and to the social and economic stability" are the words of Massimo Deiana, Regional Minister for Transport. Mrs. Gabriella Massidda, the General Director of Transport Directorate of the Sardinia Region has explained that this initiative has strengthened the dialogue between the European and Southern shore of the Mediterranean and can contribute to make the Mediterranean a central hub for commercial exchanges and sustainable trade, thanks to a strong cooperation within the region.
During the event, the perspective of the Motorways of the Sea in the region as well as the challenges and opportunities of the integration of Transport and Logistics for the Mediterranean area have been presented and discussed. Besides, main representatives from the ports of Beirut, Barcelona and Sardinia have explained the challenge of increasing the freight maritime transport in their regions. The OPTIMED project has led to important innovations to the concept of shipping goods in the Mediterranean basin and new business relationships based on the opportunities of new optimised maritime trade network. More concretely, the project activities have led to the new “hub & spoke" network for connecting the South-East and North-West coasts of the Mediterranean, as well as the design of two new hubs port (Beirut and Porto Torres) and the creation of a new virtual logistics platform.
The event was also the occasion for the presentation of the opportunities offered by the new ENI (European Neighbourhood Instrument) CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, recently adopted by the European Commission and which will replace the ENPI Programme (European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument) as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy, running until 2020. Thanks to the new strategies proposed, the program ENI will support the future development of the OPTIMED project.
With a total budget of €1,999,403.13, OPTIMED is a project funded under ENI CBC MED, the financial instrument supporting the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) in the Mediterranean basin. It aims at promoting new opportunities, facilities, tools and skills in order to improve the commercial connections and relationships between public and private operators in maritime transport and logistics sector from Southern – Eastern to Northern – Western ports of the Mediterranean Sea.