The Corridors and Territories conference

On 20 November, the Corridors and Territories conference was held on the premises of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, to which the cooperative of Upper Rhine Ports was invited, under the patronage of the MEP and Chairperson of the Port Autonome de Strasbourg, Catherine TRAUTMANN.

Before 70 participants, Patricia ERB-KORN, the Director of the port of Karlsruhe, presented an overview of the progress of the joint project of the nine ports between Basel and Ludwigshafen, entitled: Upper Rhine, a Connected Corridor. The cost of the project amounts to 1.7 M€, half of which is co-funded by Europe under the TEN-T program (Trans-European Transport Networks). It will run from 2012 to the end of 2014 and examine any and all possible synergies between those ports to strengthen the ports' role as multimodal hubs in the European transport network.


The preliminary study, carried out by the Franco-German studies grouping Mensia Conseil and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum 2013, presents numerous opportunities for cooperation. Raphaël de Boisgrollier of Mensia Conseil: “Offering considerable diversification in their range of traffic, the ports also offer a degree of complementarity highly conducive to a common development strategy: agricultural products along the French bank, a chemicals hub in Ludwigshafen, metallurgical waste in Kehl, and petroleum products, particularly present in Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Basel and Ludwigshafen.” In 2014, complementary studies will be undertaken to establish a joint investment master plan as part of a strategy common to the nine ports, and create the governance structure that will make the ports' alliance a reality. Several subjects are already in the offing, such as shared terminals for the storage of empty containers and joint promotion campaigns. Others will be developed within the framework of the complementary studies.


The round table on the question “The corridors: what opportunities for the territories?” revealed the value that these initiatives represent for economic development. For Catherine Trautmann, north-south transport represents a key issue in the economic integration of a Europe in which the north-south divide is deepening. A view that was seconded by Paolo Odone, Chairman of the Genoa Chamber of Commerce, which hopes to see the port of Genoa become an attractive sea port for the Swiss thanks to the St Gotthard and Lötschberg Tunnels.

From the point of view of logistics companies, Michael BAIER, Director of Rhenus Rail, a branch of the largest logistics concern on the Rhine, Rhenus Logistics, with a turnover of 4 billion € and active in all of the Upper Rhine ports, welcomed cooperation between the ports. For the economic players, this cooperation is part and parcel of a general trend generating interesting gains in terms of simplification of processes and transparency.

Hans van der Werf, on behalf of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, stressed the pertinence of including river transport in the corridor strategies.

Hansjörg Drewello, a Professor at the School of Public Administration in Kehl referred to his research, which has revealed the saturation of the railway axis between Karlsruhe and Basel, reminding us of the pressing need to increase infrastructure capacity if it is to be able to handle new traffic.

The European Commission for its part appreciated the steps being taken: “You are the precursors of visions beyond borders. May you spawn many imitators.” Its representative, Richard Ferrer, in charge of the Trans-European Transport Network scheme, was quick with his praise.


Les Upper Rhine Ports au Parlement Européen