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European Commission Hosts Short Sea Shipping Seminar

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

27 October 2006


The European Commission and the Finnish Presidency this week organised a seminar on Short Sea Shipping and the Motorways of the Sea, held yesterday and today.

It was the first joint meeting on this subject to take place with the participation of experts on the Motorways of the Sea, freshly appointed by the Member States and the 21 national Short Sea Shipping Promotion Centres. The purpose of the meeting was to report on the support actions undertaken by the Member States and the European Union.

Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the Commission with special responsibility for transport, noted ahead of the seminar that "strenuous efforts are required to ensure that the full potential of Short Sea Shipping in Europe is attained".

He continued:

"The Commission is committed to supporting the development of Short Sea Shipping on intra-Community routes in order to meet future challenges linked to the growth in transport and to benefit from the advantages it brings from an economic, environmental and safety point of view."

At present, Short Sea Shipping and the Motorways of the Sea are subject to administrative procedures that are excessively complex. In addition, they suffer from under-investment and are insufficiently integrated into door-to-door logistics chains.

To encourage the development of the sector, port passage needs to be made easier. This means simplifying administrative and customs procedures for ships entering and leaving ports and the integration of shipping into the logistics chain, particularly by ensuring continuity through adequate shore-side transport and logistical capacities.

Motorways of the Sea, currently being developed by many of the Member States, are intermodal corridors based around shipping lines with reliable, high frequency and high speed port services. Their purpose is to demonstrate Short Sea Shipping's high potential to absorb a large part of the growth in goods transport in the next few years.

This initiative follows the Commission's presentation on 13 July 2006 of a mid-term report on the action programme for the promotion of Short Sea Shipping adopted in 2003. The report, while noting the progress that has been achieved, stressed the need to enhance or redirect some activities intended to promote this mode of transport and to improve the effectiveness of the logistics chain.


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