Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission, has outlined some changes to customs formalities in ports, in an effort to help shift EU transit cargo from congested highways to under-utilised short sea shipping lanes.
Streamlining existing customs procedures at ports in the European Union and separating EU goods from non-EU cargo for ships moving beyond the continent are two ways the European Commission hopes to improve shipping in Europe, said Kallas, revealing that currently, a third of all freight travelling in the European Union is transited on ocean vessels, but half of all freight is carried on the roadways.
An official press release stated that industry complains that they are forced to send goods by road, because a heavy administrative burden causes long delays in ports and makes shipping unattractive. Ships can sometimes wait for hours or even days in ports for customs clearance. We need to lighten this load.
Kallas thinks these two changes will be a big step toward putting the maritime industry on the same level with other forms of transportation.
There’s no reason, he explained, that a ship moving from Antwerp to Rotterdam would need the same customs clearances as goods coming into the country from China.
“These customs measures are complementary and will further improve the efficiency of services Europe’s ports, ” Kallas said. “Today, we are taking another step to making barriers to free movement of goods a thing of the past for shipping too.”