This year’s edition of the ESPO award for societal integration of ports focused on citizen outreach and efficient use of social networks. Among four finalists were three AIVP members, Ports of Dublin and Stockholm and Union des Ports de France.

This was the 11th edition of the award created by ESPO, the European Sea Port Organization, to recognize the efforts made by European ports for societal integration.

This years’ edition had the theme “Transparency and the role of social media in reaching out to the local community“, a key topic also included in the AIVP 2030 Agenda, on goals 4 and 6, about governance and port-city culture. AIVP has been member of the jury since the beginning, given our expertise on social interactions in port cities and long-term collaboration with ESPO. José M P Sánchez represented AIVP in the jury on November 13th in Brussels.

The final winner was the port of Dover for its broad social outreach strategy overcoming considerable challenges in terms of port-city development and using social media as “means to an end”, connecting with the local population. One of the key aspects highlighted by the jury was the engagement of port workers, telling the “real” story of how the port functions. Port of Dover has efficiently used platforms like Facebook and Twitter, bringing people closer to the port.

Port of Dublin also presented a holistic approach to social media tools, building on their soft values, sharing the stories from dockers, organizing photography competitions and reaching citizens for its new masterplan.

Union des Ports de France presented an app for smartphone, an innovative interactive tool to reach out younger generations, explaining the port in an attractive way.

The other finalist, Port of Stockholm applied with a creative communication campaign announcing the new port terminal and its relevance for the local society.

AIVP congratulates all members that reached the final round and specially the winner, the Port of Dover.

Recently, in the Port Center Meeting in Bilbao, we also discussed the issue of communication with locals, including citizen’s participation and exchanging planning ideas for port cities. We predict that this topic will be even more relevant in the coming years, making Port Centers a crucial tool.

From AIVP we look forward to extend our cooperation with ESPO and joining them next year in a new edition of the social integration award.