Political positions

The Port of Hirtshals works constantly on improving the conditions for the Danish ports and the industries that depend on the ports. This is why the Port of Hirtshals participates in the public dialogue about topics that are relevant in order to secure the commercial possibilities as well as topics to ensure that Denmark will have an even stronger position in relation to international competition.

In the following, the Port of Hirtshals will present the topics which the port is currently focusing on improving in order to give the ports the best possible opportunities to contribute to growth.

Legislation on the board at Danish ports
There is an increased focus on the fact that the ports in Denmark must be managed from a business orientated perspective. However, at the same time the Port Regulations prescribe that the members of the board must be paid based on the state officials' wage scale as well as the members of the board's duty period must follow the election periods of the city councils.

In order to ensure both competence adjustments of the boards as well as continuity and stringency, the duty period of the board of directors at the ports should not be determined by the election periods of city councils.

The regulations regarding the boards at the ports can suitably be modernised in connection with Denmark getting a new Danish Port Act.

Permission to dispose
Some of the Danish ports, and especially the ports on the west coast of Jutland, require that the channels and the entries to the ports are dredged regularly. If the ports do not dredge these, the entries will sand up and the ports will therefore have to close since the ships cannot enter the ports, because of the lack of water depth. As a result, local business centres and growth creators are going to die - i.e. the ports as well as the business activities at the port areas.

To be able to dredge the entries and the channels, the ports must continuously apply for permission to dispose at the Danish Nature Agency that usually provides permissions that are valid for a two-year period. When applying for the permissions, the ports and the state deploy significant resources on submitting, forwarding, processing and providing the permissions to dispose. The process can furthermore take up to two years which is why it is a continuous process in practice. The consequence is a significant waste of resources since the permissions must be provided, as the community otherwise will lose the ports that are not provided with a permission.

The Port of Hirtshals finds it appropriate if the ports were provided with permanent permissions to dispose. In return, the ports must one time a year provide analysis results of the material collected from the channels and port entries. In that way, the significant waste of resources at the port administrations and the Danish Nature Agency will be eliminated. At the same time, the Danish Nature Agency will be able to evaluate the material that is dredged. 

The port's head office

Sale of buildings on rented land
Today, some ports have capital tied up in buildings which the ports due to legislation cannot sell and thereby release the tied-up capital for other and more relevant purposes.

The alienation of buildings is prevented by §10 and §19 of "Tinglysningsloven" (the Land Registration Act) which does not allow buildings to be sold without its cadastre, as buildings and cadastres cannot be separated if they both are owned by the same person or company. Thereby, the ports are prevented from focusing on development and instead they are forced to demolish usable buildings or act as landlords instead of port administrations.

Sale and transfer of buildings to "buildings on rented land" is a common practice at the ports and should therefore be made possible in preparation for clearing up the building stock owned by the ports in order to ensure commercial operation of the ports. For a limited period, the ports should be given a dispensation in relation to the Land Registration Act to sell buildings to a property company from where the buildings can be resold afterwards. It has previously been possible in relation to the spin-off of the Danish Railway Agency as well as the changes at Christiania. In order to meet the requirement of commercial and efficient port operations, it should therefore also be possible for the ports.

A third connection across the Limfjord
The Nordic Link corridor has been identified as a prioritised link in Europe by the European Commission. Furthermore, it has been identified as a part of the TEN-T network which composes the connection between the European continent and the Norwegian capital Oslo as well as Gothenburg in Sweden.

The TEN-T core link through Jutland is not only a national connection but also a link of European importance which secures the connection between the European continent and partly Norway and partly West Sweden. Because of the importance of the link, it is significant that the motorways through Jutland can uphold and sustain traffic. Otherwise, Norway and West Sweden risk being cut off from the European continent as a consequence of accidents or critical crashes.

Therefore, it must be recognised that the connection across the Limfjord is a connection with European significance. That is why a third connection across the Limfjord must be established as a supplement to the existing connections and to ensure that the corridor through Jutland can be sustained at any time.

With the establishment of a third Limfjord connection, the E39 motorway is naturally extended at its own crossing of the Limfjord, and Hirtshals will thus be directly connected to the southern part of Denmark.

The railway capacity in Vendsyssel
The Nordic Link has been identified as a prioritised link in Europe by the European Commission. Furthermore, it has been identified as part of the TEN-T network that composes the connection between the European continent and the Norwegian capital Oslo as well as Gothenburg in Sweden.

The TEN-T corridor through Jutland is not only a national connection but also a link of European importance, which secures the connection between Continental Europe and Norway and Sweden The importance of the connection requires that it possesses the necessary capacity and can maintain traffic - even in case of accidental events. The corridor must have a certain level of credibility which can secure retention and growth within the transportation industry.

In order to maintain a certainty for the functionality of the Nordic Link (in case of derailment, interruptions or collision with bridges) the railway between the ports in Hirtshals and Frederikshavn as well as the border between Denmark and Germany must be double tracked.

As a requirement to sustain the railway link, the railway North of Aalborg must also be double tracked, and this includes the need for a new parallel bridge across the Limfjord as a supplement to the existing bridge.

Train at the combi terminal

Electrification of the railway
The railway between the Port of Hirtshals and the Danish/German border is part of the European TEN-T core network. Therefore, the railway has a prioritised role in the European infrastructure.

With the appointment of the railway connection as a part of the TEN-T core network, the member states are committed to ensure that the appointed connections fulfil a defined standard. This means, among other things, that the railway connection between the Port of Hirtshals and the Danish/German border must be electrified by 2030.

It should be the state's responsibility to ensure that the TEN-T link fulfil these European standards and thereby that the railway connection on the TEN-T core network in Jutland is electrified by 2030.

Exemption from payment of waste fees on collected waste
According to the code of practice from the International Maritime Organization, IMO, all ports are obligated to accept operational waste from the ships that call into port without receiving any payment. All Danish ports fulfil these standards based on the common sense that the ports must contribute to the cleaning of the oceans.

In Denmark, the obligations are however extended. Besides being obligated to collect and remove the waste which is brought to the ports by ships, the Danish ports must also pay a waste fee to the Government.

The fundamental international principle states that the polluter pays for disposal of the waste. However, this is a fee that the ports are required to pay, and furthermore the ports must pay a waste fee to the Government. This appears to be unbalanced as the ports should not be punished for carrying out a social duty which the ports reasonably enough are obligated to fulfil.

In order to ensure that the ports are not charged wrongfully, the ports must be exempted from paying the waste fee for the operational waste that is handed over by ships.

New Danish Port Act
Denmark needs a new port act, as the existing Danish Port Act does not provide the ports and the Danish industry with future-oriented, competitive conditions. A new port act must support the efficiency of the port operations and at the same time ensure competitive conditions for the industries that use the ports directly or indirectly.

A future port act must be formulated as a minimum legislation that complies with the European Union Port Services Regulation. The Danish Port Act must ensure the Danish ports the best possible competitive position in relation to the remaining ports in Europe.

As an important starting point, a new port act must ensure the possibility of organising the ports in different ways - e.g. there could be a number of organisation models to choose from. Thus, it should be possible, among other things, to choose between a self-governing model or various joint-stock models, including a holding model and the possibility of having subsidiaries. Regardless of the organisation choice of the individual port, there must be no restrictions regarding the persons who are part of the organisation, and it must also be possible for one or more persons to participate at both board and management level.

In addition, the new port act must ensure transparency in the accounts of the ports. It must, as a minimum, ensure that the ports meet the accounting separation requirements under the European Union Port Services Regulation, and secondly, that the ports do not subsidise operator activities from infrastructure activities.

A port act must make room for a mutual challenge right, so that private companies can take up activities in competition with the ports' own operator companies under equal conditions of competition. Similarly, the ports must be able to challenge the activities of private companies if this is done on equal competitive terms.

The few ports with grandfather clauses should be able to retain these clauses in a new port act, as the operation of the ports is historically tied to these acquired rights. However, the grandfather clauses of the ports may not have character of exclusive rights, as private players should be able to challenge the ports on equal terms of competition.

The Port Act must open for cooperation and ownership of the ports across municipalities as well as national borders.

Smaller ports with an annual turnover of less than DKK 10 million must not be bound by the limitations of the Port Act but should be able to act freely.

The new port act in Denmark must be based on a broad political majority in the Danish Parliament to ensure continuity and future-proofed conditions.

Color Line entering the Port of Hirtshals

National Transport Plan
Denmark needs to formulate a National Transport Plan in order to secure an infrastructure that supports a national growth platform and to secure a streamlining of the national investments in infrastructure. In addition, a national transport plan must support a reduction in the climate impact of the transport sector.

For example, our neighbouring countries Norway, Sweden and Schleswig-Holstein have all adopted National Transport Plans. As the country in the middle, Denmark must therefore have a similar National Transport Plan. In addition to linking the transport plans together in a Northern European and Scandinavian perspective, Denmark's transport plan must also contribute to a national efficiency in infrastructure investments.

The Danish Transport Plan must prioritise multimodal cargo transport which exploits the advantages of the individual modes of transport. This will optimise investment and capacity utilisation on both the road and rail networks.

A transport plan must ensure that the industry, the transport sector and the municipalities have consistent framework conditions. Thus, the transport plan must support growth and development both on a national as well as a Scandinavian level. The plan should be based on an overall strategy for a small country like Denmark and on that basis define and prioritise specific projects.

The transport plan must be based on a long-term, stable core and be updated annually to ensure that the plan is up-to-date and still relates to the ongoing technological development. For this reason, the Danish Transport Plan must be based on a broad majority in the Danish Parliament.