In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission has called on Austria, Cyprus, Portugal and Romania to fully transpose the EU law on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.
This directive amended the EU rules that require ships to notify a number of details before entry into port, such as the volumes and types of waste to be delivered and storage capacity on board. It also added the requirement to provide information on what has actually been delivered to port reception facilities in the last port of call.
As informed, the directive was adopted in order ensure consistency with measures accepted at the level of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and to avoid uncertainty amongst port users and authorities. It had to be transposed into national law by December 9, 2016, at the latest.
However, the abovementioned countries have failed to do so. Now, the member states have two months to remedy the situation, otherwise, the commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the EU.
What is more, the commission has urged member states including Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands to transpose rules on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.
The main purpose of the directive is said to be establishing a common framework for the large-scale roll-out of alternative fuels infrastructure in Europe. This is essential to reduce transport oil-dependence, mitigate its environmental impact and, thereby, deliver on the Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility adopted by the commission on June 20, 2016, as explained by the commission.
The directive sets out minimum requirements for the building-up of alternative fuels infrastructure, including recharging points for electric vehicles and refueling points for natural gas and hydrogen. It had to be implemented by November 18, 2016, according to the commission.
However, the eight member states have not yet notified the commission of measures transposing the directive into national law. They have been given two months to inform the commission about such measures.
Finally, the commission decided to close infringement proceedings against Belgium concerning the organization of labor at Belgian ports.
In March 2014, the commission expressed concerns that the Belgian system ran contrary to the freedom of establishment enshrined in Article 49 TFEU by restricting the establishment of port operators. Such restrictions included the existence of an exclusive “pool regime” for the recruitment of dockers, restrictions concerning the type of work contract and the composition of teams of workers.
Since then, and as a result of active dialogue with the commission, the Belgian authorities have adopted a number of reforms addressing the restrictions and which will gradually phase out the restrictive regime.
The new regime is expected to contribute to the competitiveness of Belgian ports while offering an adequate level of protection to dockworkers.
The commission said it intends to monitor the correct implementation and application of the law.
World Maritime News Staff