“Looking to the future…”
For all those who evolve in the Brussels microcosm but luckily who live in other EU countries, the end of May 2019 coincides with the time of assessment of the last five years and generates some excitement or anxiety when thinking about the election of the new Parliament and the impact it will have on the appointments of the new Commissioners.
Looking back to what has been achieved during the last five years, European port operators and terminals acknowledge the fact that some pieces of legislation have brought clarity and constitute useful instruments.
This is the case of the Port Services Regulation with respect to transparency and governance in EU ports, the inclusion of provisions in ports in the GBER exempting certain public measures of support to ports from prior notification, the Non Road Mobile Machinery Regulation which aims at phasing out equipment with the most polluting engines and establishing standards for engines placed on the European market and, more recently, the Maritime Single Window Regulation.
FEPORT has particularly welcomed the adoption of the EMSWe (European Maritime Single Window environment) Regulation as it provides a sound basis for reducing the administrative burden on ships whilst also respecting existing investments in reporting channels.
FEPORT strongly believes that the fact that the Regulation remains technology neutral will ensure that potential new systems are not rapidly outdated by new developments, while at the same time ensuring industry does not need to needlessly re-invest in regulatory compliance and can instead focus on innovation and improved services.
The adoption of the EMSWe (European Maritime Single Window environment) Regulation is a good example on how a common EU approach can allow European Logistics chains and businesses to be stronger and more efficient.
There are still strong expectations regarding other files such as the review of the Consortia BER which is a good example of a sectoral instrument which impacts well beyond the beneficiary industry. It is essential that the Regulation is modified to bring more clarity and legal certainty for shipping lines, port service providers and cargo interests. The worst that could happen would be to consider that “price” is the sole indicator to be taken into account when assessing the economic efficiency of the liner shipping industry and its cooperation with its consumers.
The “silo approach” is harming because it ignores the dynamics of different segments of the maritime logistics chain as well as the domino effects and the interdependence that exist between different industries for the worse and the better.
Private port operators and terminals are among the service providers of the liner shipping industry. They need a level playing field when it comes to negotiation with their customers. Joint purchasing of port services by alliances benefiting from the Consortia BER should not be allowed as it creates an unbalanced situation in terms of negotiation.
The purpose of the Consortia should not be to weaken the position of port service providers.
The current lack of clarity of the Consortia BER regarding the do’s and dont’s represents a threat and deserves attention from the Regulator. Cargo handling companies are not ancillary services but economic undertakings which create value and jobs and offer competitive global services.
Creating a fully integrated transport sector will boost logistics chains, ensure greater environmental sustainability and enhance EU cohesion and competitiveness.
Those who pretend that European institutions do not bring progress to people and undertakings or who advocate national protectionism to replace the European project are either ignorant or liars because EU policy makers are acting for the general interest. This is particularly true for the pieces of legislation going through the European Union’s democratic co-decision process.
The new Parliament and Commission will have to listen to the voice of the voters who expressed their wishes on the 26th of May. It is crucial to avoid an increasingly harming disenchantment among the European people towards the institutions which represent them.
The EU is the world’s most globally connected region offering free movement for goods, services, capital and persons. It should continue to lead the way and remain an open market for all the non-EU partners who believe in balanced reciprocal trade relationships.