ERMES - ESPON European Research for Maritime Eco(nomic)clusters governance Strategy


ERMES is focused on the reinforcement of land-sea interactions through policies and soft governance solutions that allow for the promotion of Blue Growth and the maximization of regional benefits of sustainable maritime spatial planning.

The territorial evidence that will be produced within this targeted analysis will be useful for all Member States as it will contribute to the vision of Future Polycentric port regions in Europe, and to the ‘Maritime spatial planning and land-sea interactions’ (MSP LSI). This service contract will deliver a methodological tool and policy recommendations which can be transferred to other maritime-urban regions, and as evolutionary economic method also to other economic sectors, with respect also to the objectives for the next programming period 2021-2027.

In concrete terms, the results of this service contract will support the cooperation between EU countries and also increase coordination between administrations in each country through the use of a single instrument to balance the development of a range of maritime activities.

Stakeholders’ knowledge needs

  • To what extent and how could clusters contribute to the development of urban-maritime regions and how can they benefit insular areas that combine a high number of territorial disparities?
  • What kind of actions/policies are needed to ensure a sustainable and integrated management of Eco-Clusters in coastal regions and island territories?
  • Are Eco-Clusters able to support local business development in urban-maritime regions?
  • Which are the main economic sectors affected and which schemes (financial and legal framework, policy dialogue and cross-sectorial approaches, stakeholder involvement methods, policy cycle assessment) can be used to investigate how the agglomeration of firms and related actors has a positive impact on the regional maritime economy (jobs/business creation and sustainable growth)?
  • How can framework conditions be created in stakeholders’ coastal regions for strengthening the relationship between existing industrial-services assets and strategical infrastructure development?
  • Do Eco-Clusters contribute to increase the networking and cooperation of urban maritime regions?
  • Which opportunities do citizens benefit from cluster policies implementation?

Main outcomes

  • Territorial evidence on urban-maritime interfaces and cluster development potentials (degree of innovation, presence of infrastructural gaps, structural constrains and risks, transition policies) of the four stakeholders’ regions.
  • Urban-maritime spatial planning scenario built on territorial differences (one for each stakeholder’s region), by involving Quadruple Helix actors, policy-makers and City-Port Authorities.
  • Recommendations and guidance for the elaboration of strategies for added urban-maritime value, based on existing indicators on demand/offer and thematic priorities (new employment rates, modal split and mobility, new infrastructure and service, bioeconomy, tourism).
  • Policy recommendations and the guidelines to be applied in similar urban maritime regions in Europe.


  • Liguria Region (IT), Department of Territorial Planning – Strategic rail infrastructures, Ports and Logistics Office- lead stakeholder
  • Province of Savona (IT)
  • Municipality of Genoa (IT)
  • Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority, Ports of Genoa (IT)
  • Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy - Special Service of EU Structural Funds (EL)
  • Crete Region (EL) – Regional public body
  • Heraklion Port Authority (EL)
  • Province of East Flanders (BE)
  • North Sea Port (NL)
  • Authority for Transport (MT) – Ports and Yachting Directorate


  • ECORYS (NL) (lead contractor)
  • Spatial Foresight (LU)


€ 268,300.00


March 2020 – March 2021


  • Inception delivery : 11 June 2020
  • Interim delivery : 11 December 2020
  • Final delivery : 11 March 2021


Sandra Di Biaggio (Senior Project Expert) [email protected], Johannes Kiersch (Financial Expert) [email protected]


Final report ERMES_28May.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.27MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.13MB

Synthesis report_Final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 492KB

Scientific annex_Final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 569KB

Annex Case Study Crete_final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 657KB

Annex Case Study East-Flanders_final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 781KB

Annex Case Study Liguria_final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 695KB

Annex Case Study Malta_final.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 666KB