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Maritime Transport and Regional Cooperation in the Mediterranean Basin

Maritime Transport and Regional Cooperation in the Mediterranean Basin

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This policy brief examines scenarios for expanded regional transportation cooperation in the Mediterranean Basin.
This policy brief examines scenarios for expanded regional transportation cooperation in the Mediterranean Basin.

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Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on Jan 19, 2011
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Summary
: Globalization hasstrengthened the role of theMediterranean in internationalmaritime transport of goods.
However, trafc growth hasmainly involved transit ows,
while intra-Mediterranean
ows now make up less thana quarter of the total. Fore
-
casts for the coming 15 yearssuggest that this trend islikely to continue, thus limiting Euro-Mediterranean coopera
-
 tion. Moreover, some activities(especially transshipment) areexpected to witness increasing competition between northernand southern ports in the
Mediterranean. In light of thisreality and the growing pres-
ence of Gulf and Asian playersin southern port infrastruc
-
 tures, the EU maritime policy
 towards the Mediterranean willhave to be redesigned.
Mediterranean Policy Program—Series on the Region and the Economic Crisis
Policy Brie 
Maritime Transport and RegionalCooperation in the Mediterranean Basin
by Franco Zallio
*
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 20009T 1 202 745 3950F 1 202 265 1662E ino@gmus.org
Prepared in Partnership with Paralleli (Turin) January 2011
In the decade preceding the interna-tional economic crisis, the volume o goods transported within the Mediter-ranean region expanded by 5 percenta year. The growth o goods loaded oncontainer ships was particularly high(+10 percent a year) as well as thato liquid bulk (+7 percent a year).
1
 Yearly increase in other transportcomponents has been more limited:+5 percent or goods embarked onroll-on, roll-o transport (Ro-Ro) and+3 percent or dry bulk.
2
Adopting the amiliar distinctionbetween bulk (both liquid and solid)and non-bulk (containers, Ro-Ro),the highest growth appears to haveoccurred or non-bulk. Within thiscategory, container transport hasdeveloped in a manner ar superiorto Ro-Ro transport. This has strongimplications or the direction o ows:Ro-Ro routes are in act intra-Medi-terranean, north-south as much aseast-west, while large container shipsmainly transit in the Mediterranean,moving east-west, rom Asia towardsnorthern European ports.
1
Liquid bulk mainly includes oil, gas, and chemicals.
2
Dry bulk mainly includes cereals, coal, and other miner
-als.
Thereore, the growth o shippingvolumes in the Mediterranean hasbeen dominated by transit ows ratherthan by trafc ows between coun-tries bordering the Mediterranean,reecting slow progress o economicregionalism in the ace o the rapidprogress o globalization. In 2007 —prior to the international economiccrisis — intra-Mediterranean trafcrepresented only 24 percent o totalnon-bulk trafc.
3
O this fgure, 16percent o non-bulk trafc was madeup by EU-Mediterranean (EUM)-EUM ows, 7 percent by southeastMediterranean (SEM)-EUM ows(mainly north to south), and only 1percent by SEM-SEM ows. Amongextra-Mediterranean trafc, Asiadominates at 29 percent o total: 26percent is made up o EU-Asia owsand the remaining 3 percent is madeup o SEM-Asia ows and o thestill limited Asia-sub-Saharan Aricaows. As paradoxical as it may seem,the development o trafc in theMediterranean has contributed to theeconomic integration between Asiaand Europe more than it has contrib-uted to integration among economiesbordering the Mediterranean.
3
The analysis of this brief focuses on non-bulk trafcgiven that bulk trafc, both liquid and solid, is stronglylinked to sectorial factors such as development in oilmarket, cereals market, and steel production.
 
Mediterranean Policy Program—Series on the Region and the Economic Crisis
Policy Brie 
2
This evolution has also had a signifcant impact on the sizeo ships and o port acilities in the Mediterranean. On onehand, the growth o container ows stimulated an increasein the tonnage o container ships. On the other hand, thestructure o port acilities in the Mediterranean has adaptedto this growth through the expansion o existing ports andthe creation o new ports targeted to container ships trafc,in particular to transhipment. The Italian port o GioiaTauro and the Moroccan Tanger-Med can be seen as twoexamples o this trend.Despite the expansion o port acilities in the Mediterra-nean, northern European ports continue to play a domi-nant role in container shipping between the EU and Asia.Furthermore (and perhaps counter intuitively), Antwerp,Hamburg, and Rotterdam also play a major role in EU-SEMcontainer ows. The reasons are well known and relate tothe efciency o port operations in terms o equipment,services, and custom and bureaucratic procedures.By hitting international trade heavily, the economic crisishas also signifcantly reduced transport ows in the Medi-terranean, with a double digit decline rom which it hasonly partially recovered: 2007-2008 levels will probably notbe achieved again sooner than 2012, or even 2013. Never-theless, the crisis has not triggered the adoption o severeprotectionist measures, which could have induced structuralchanges in the global network o businesses. Consequently,the crisis looks like a slowing down, rather than a reversal,o the established transport trend in the Mediterranean,dominated by globalization instead o economic region-alism. This trend, as we shall see, is urther strengthened by the current weakness o Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Prospective Scenarios for Transport of Goodsin the Mediterranean
A recent prospective study by Plan Bleu provides orecastson non-bulk transport growth in the Mediterranean until2025, on the basis o three diversifed scenarios in terms o economic growth and oil price.
4
The frst scenario, basedon a very slow recovery rom the international economiccrisis, assumes an average economic growth o 1.5 percentin EUM and 3 percent in SEM.
5
In this context oil pricewould be moderate and would, on average, be equal toUS$50 per barrel at 2005 value. Consequently, there areno economic incentives or improving the environmentalimpact o the transport system. In such a scenario, PlanBleu oresees an increase in non-bulk ows o 3.4 percenta year (a rate much lower than the one recorded in thedecade preceding the international economic crisis), whichis driven by transit ows. On one hand, ows between theEU and Asian countries would increase 5 percent a year, andwould reach 35 percent o total ows (gaining 9 percentagepoints with respect to 2005). On the other hand, intra-Mediterranean ows would all to 20 percent o the total(thus losing 5 percentage points) due to the very modestgrowth o EUM-EUM ows, which are expected to growonly by 1.4 percent per year. EUM-SEM ows would loseone percentage point, while SEM-SEM ows would increaserom 1 to 2 percent o total ows.This scenario would have important implications or theMediterranean port structure. New ports or containerswould be created in SEM, increasing competition withEUM ports, and especially with transhipment hubs, inan over-capacity context. Given the limited availability o fnancial resources in the Mediterranean region, Gul andAsian countries would be the main investors in new port
4
Philippe Vallouis,
Maritime Transport of Goods in the Mediterranean: Outlook 2025
,
Plan Bleu, Valbonne, May 2010 (Blue Plan Papers 7).
5
2005 is the reference year for these scenarios; consequently, the average growth ratesrefer to the 2006-2025 period.
As paradoxical as it may seem, the development of trafc in theMediterranean has contributed to the economic integration betweenAsia and Europe more than ithas contributed to integrationamong economies bordering the
Mediterranean.
 
Mediterranean Policy Program—Series on the Region and the Economic Crisis
Policy Brie 
3
inrastructures in SEM. Ro-Ro transport would be aectedby the limited growth in intra-Mediterranean ows, and theMotorways o the Sea project would be abandoned.The second scenario is based on a quicker recovery rom theinternational economic crisis that would bring economicgrowth in the Mediterranean region to its pre-crisis levels:+1.8 percent in EUM, and 4 percent in SEM. Oil pricewould reach on average $100 per barrel at 2005 value, thusencouraging greater efciency and lower environmentalimpact in the transport sector. This scenario oresees ahigher growth rate in trafc between the EU and Asia (+6.3percent), which would represent 38 percent o the totalnon-bulk trafc, gaining 12 percentage points compared to2005. Intra-Mediterranean ows would moderately increaseand their share would all to 19 percent o the total, with aloss o 6 percentage points. Only SEM-SEM ows, whichstart, however, rom a very low level, would increase at ahigh rate (+8 percent) while EUM-EUM ows would only increase 2 percent a year and would drop rom 17 to 11percent o total ows.Over-capacity o container ports would be rapidly absorbedand to some extent the saturation o EUM ports wouldpromote the development o port structures in SEM.Notwithstanding the modest growth o trafc, there wouldbe room or operating some Motorways o the Sea, espe-cially on busiest routes, which are mainly EUM-EUM.The third scenario assumes higher growth rates (2.1 percentor EUM and 5 percent or SEM); oil price, stimulated by the acceleration o growth, would reach on average $150 perbarrel at 2005 value, thus encouraging signifcant adapta-tion o the transport sector to the more stringent environ-mental criteria.The major Gul countries, which would beneft massively rom higher oil prices, would be the main investors in inra-structure development in the SEM. The impact o higheroil price on transport costs would result in a reorganizationo logistics, the construction o container ships, and Ro-Roconsuming less energy and with lower environmentalimpact. In particular, more efcient and less expensiveRo-Ro would spread in the Mediterranean, encouraging thedevelopment o the Motorways o the Sea on EUM-EUMroutes as well as EUM-SEM ones.On the basis o this scenario, transport o goods betweenthe EU and Asian countries would grow urther reaching 39percent o total ows (13 percentage points more than in2005) while the share o intra-Mediterranean ows wouldbe the same as in second scenario (19 percent). However,this latter result would be obtained with a dierent owcomposition: EUM-EUM ows would drop to 10 percent o the total (losing 7 percentage points), while SEM-SEM owswould urther increase (rom 1 to 3 percent o total ows).Albeit still quite limited, SEM-SEM ows will thereoregrow signifcantly, promoted by a larger, and more efcient,web o trade agreements. Turkey may play a key role in thisdevelopment, as a main partner in various ree trade agree-ments and, possibly, as an investor in some SEM countries.
North – South Competition and Cooperation inMediterranean Transport Flows
From the standpoint o the geographical composition o ows, these scenarios diverge in terms o their size ratherthan in their trends. In all three, in act, the prevalence o ows between EU and Asian countries would increase whileintra-Mediterranean ows would lose even more relevance.Freight trafc in the Mediterranean would thereorecontinue to be primarily o a transit nature, and its impli-cations or Euro-Mediterranean cooperation do not seemencouraging.However, in relation to the development o port inra-structures in the Mediterranean, the implications o thethree scenarios are very dierent: the frst is character-ized by ferce competition between EUM and SEM in acontext o over-capacity, while the other scenarios oreseeprogressively more room or cooperation between EUMand SEM. Moreover, the international economic crisis is
The international economiccrisis is already accentuating competition between EUM and
SEM.

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