Over 50 committed representatives of the DAPhNE project partner organisations, along with representatives of relevant public and private stakeholders of the Danube port and waterborne transport community came together on 10 April 2019 in Vienna to celebrate in the framework of DAPhNE project the official launch of the Danube Ports Network (DPN).
With this event, the successful work carried out within the framework of the DAPhNE - Danube Ports Network Project (Jan.2017-June 2019) was acknowledged and one of its successful outputs was introduced to the larger audience, namely the Danube Ports Network (DPN).
Launched in June 2018, the DPN acts as a regional coordination and collaboration platform involving public and private Danube port and terminal organisations in the Danube Region. At this stage, the Network brings together public & private Danube port organisations, currently involved in the DAPhNE Project. However, with the support and collective effort of 8 strategic partners, the Network shall continue functioning as a coordination and cooperation platform after the end of the project (June 2019). In this context, in his opening intervention, Mr. Manfred Seitz, General Secretary Pro Danube International (PDI) -- the host organisation of the DPN Technical Secretariat -- had presented the DPN vision, mission and objectives, underlinging the importance of a well - cordinated platform for coherent transnational cooperation of the Danube Region ports.
Keynote speeches were delivered by strategic partners of the DPN, namely Mr. Turi Fiorito, Director European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) and by Dr. M. Fazekas, Executive Chairman Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI). As the representative of the EFIP’s Secretariat – one of the most relevant DPN’s strategic partners in promoting Danube ports’ interests at EU level, Mr Firorito shared with the DPN community his views on the role of Danube ports in the overall EU inland ports sector, the challenges and opportunities confronting the sector, EFIP’s key priorities, as well as areas of possible cooperation with the DPN. On the other hand, Dr. Fazekas highlighted the activities of SECI to promote economic and social development in the South East Europe benefiting the Danube Region, and in this context highlighted the potential role of Danube ports as centres for economic and industrial growth.
Equaly important, Capt. Béla Szalma - the Chairman of the DPN Advisory Group had provided a Testimonial -- his personal endorsement of the DPN, outlining his views on the need for a platform for better cooperation of the Danube river and sea ports, the rationale for setting the DPN, as well as the benefits of joining the DPN. In her interevention Ms. Janeta Toma, of PDI - DPN Technical Secretariat, had outlined key initiatives and activities carried out by the Technical Secretariat during the pilot action phase of the DPN.
Last but not least, the participants benefited from an interactive panel discussion which debated perspectives about Danube Region ports’ strategic priorities, challenges and ways forward, as well as benefits of regional port cooperation. Specifically, the debate was geared into issues falling under the key thematic areas of the DPN’s work: sustainable port development & operations, port connectivity – hinterland connections (multi-modal/intermodal), climate & energy, port digitalisation, RTD & Innovation, skilled port labour – education & training, funding and financing.
The discussion was moderated by Manfred Seitz and contributed by Capt. Béla SZALMA - Hungarian Federation of Danube Ports, Werner AUER - Ennshafen, Gerhard GUSSMAGG - Rhenus Donauhafen Krems, Anguel ZABOURTOV - Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Company, Thomas MOSER - Danube Logistics SRL/Giurgiulesti International Free Port, Alen Jakumetović - Port of Vukovar Authority, and Srđa Lješević - Port Governance Agency.
For more information on the structure of the event and the specific topics discussed, please consult the agenda and relevnt presentations, as follows :
- Welcome and introductory remarks by Mr. Manfred Seitz, General Secretary Pro Danube International (PDI)
- Intervention by Capt. Béla Szalma, Chairman Danube Ports Network Advisory Group, President, Hungarian Federation of Danube Ports (HFIP)
- Intervention by Ms. Janeta Toma, DPN Technical Secretariat
- Keynote speech by Mr. Turi Fiorito, Director European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP)