ECSA: It’s Time for Single Shipping Market

The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has welcomed the recent move by the European Commission that could pave the way for the single market for shipping. 

The commission is revising the Reporting Formalities Directive and a European Maritime Single Window environment.

In its impact assessment, the European Commission is analyzing whether it should not only harmonize and simplify reporting of the vessel related reporting obligations but also streamline the customs reporting.

“ECSA fully supports this revision and calls for an ambitious project. It goes without saying that we want the customs reporting to be part of it as well. Only in this way shipping can finally enjoy the single market,” Martin Dorsman, Secretary General of ECSA, pointed out.

“An ambitious European Maritime Single Window environment should do away with all this unnecessary administrative workload which is now a heavy and unnecessary burden on the seafarers and company staff,” Dorsman added.

The single market is a central element of the EU growth agenda. It is, however, clear that the single market remains incomplete and dysfunctional in some sectors. This is particularly true for shipping, ECSA believes.

As explained, shipping remains disadvantaged compared to other transport modes. In many cases, goods transported by ships between EU ports lose union status. This entails a heavy administrative burden, involving several authorities and intermediate parties.

Besides these numerous cargo-related reporting procedures and requirements, there are also a large number of vessel related reporting procedures and requirements to be fulfilled. These are complex, repetitive and unharmonized throughout the EU, according to ECSA.

While the Reporting Formalities Directive aimed to simplify and harmonize the reporting, it, unfortunately, resulted in the opposite outcome. Today, seafarers and company staff are facing an even higher administrative workload, resulting in additional stress for seafarers, decrease in job satisfaction and productivity losses, ECSA said.

“European shipowners believe that the European Maritime Single Window environment can only be a success if all parties, especially all authorities at national, regional and port level, are fully committed to making a success out of this. Their information requirements, strictly limited to data where there is “a need to know”, must all be covered in the one, single EU model,” Dorsman continued.

“There should be no room nor need, for any party to ask anything beyond what is in the one, single model or interface. All relevant authorities and competent bodies at national and EU level must guarantee acceptance of data from the European Maritime Single Window environment,” he concluded.

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