IMO adopts carriage ban on high-sulphur fuel

Ships without scrubbers will be unable to carry fuel with a sulphur content higher than 0.5% from March 2020 after the move was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) last week.

The move is seen as a key step in improving the enforceability of IMO’s global sulphur cap (to be implemented from 1 January 2020), meaning that ships will not be able to carry non-compliant fuel unless they have the means to comply with the sulphur limit. It is just one of several measures supporting the new sulphur regulations to have been agreed at the seventy-third sitting of MEPC.

The committee also approved guidance on ship implementation planning as part of a set of guidelines being developed by IMO to ensure consistent implementation. The g guidance includes sections on risk assessment and mitigation planning; fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning; fuel oil capacity and segregation capability; procurement of compliant fuel; fuel oil changeover planning; and documentation and reporting.

Further guidance approved by MEPC includes best practice for fuel oil suppliers, which is intended to assist purchasers and users in assuring the quality of sulphur compliant fuel. The guidance pertains to aspects of the purchase up to the loading of the purchased fuel.

A proposal suggesting an ‘experience-building phase’ to allay concerns about the safety of low-sulphur fuels was defeated, despite receiving some strong support. However, MEPC invited proposals to the next sitting (in May next year) on how to enhance the implementation of regulation 18 if Marpol annex VI, which covers fuel oil quality and availability. The regulation requires parties to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to promote the availability of compliant fuel oils, as well as informing IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in its ports and terminals. Parties are also required to notify IMO when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

Ship owner association BIMCO declared itself ‘very satisfied’ with the developments. “The industry retains a fixed implementation date, which is important, while we at the same time address the safety concerns,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general. He added that the association would work diligently to craft proposals that will enable the shipping industry to harvest experience to reduce the risk of safety issues associated with sulphur compliance.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomed progress at MEPC73 but noted that “numerous complex issues that need addressing urgently by IMO, both at the MEPC next May and by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December”. A detailed paper has already been submitted to MSC calling on governments to better enforce fuel quality.

“In view of the enormity of this major change it’s likely there’ll be some teething problems immediately before and after 1 January 2020,” said Esben Poulsson, secretary general, ICS. “Many industry associations have raised legitimate concerns about fuel availability, safety and compatibility of new fuels – a particular problem for those in the tramp trades.

“But if shipowners can demonstrate in good faith that they’ve done everything possible to follow an implementation plan – in line with the template IMO has now adopted – we hope that common sense will prevail in the event that safe and compliant fuels are not immediately available everywhere.”

Source: Motorship.

MOST Iberia 2018 brings together Spanish, Portuguese and South American professionals

For a second year running, the Escola brought together professionals from Spanish and Portuguese transport enterprises during the MOST Iberia edition of its well-established courses in intermodal maritime transport.

Between the 20th and the 23rd of October, a group comprising 53 professionals from the logistics and port sectors of Spain, Portugal and South America descended onto Barcelona to improve their knowledge of intermodal logistics and the motorways of the sea, and to expand their professional networks. During 4 days on board of a Ro-Pax ferry of Grimaldi Lines linking Barcelona to Civitavecchia, the participants could share their experiences, idiosyncrasies, and knowledge coming from their respective countries.

From Spain the participants came from the Spanish Ports (Puertos del Estado), as well as including logistic operators, transport companies and large associations and corporations from the sector: Roehlig, Casintra, Acotral, JVC Shipping & Solutions, El Corte Inglés and ATEIA. The South American delegation consisted of 25 professionals coming from port communities from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Members of public entities such as the regional government of Madeira, the Institute of Mobility and Transport, port authorities of Sines, Algrave, Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo, alongside representatives of private companies (Navex and Intermodal Portugal) formed the Portuguese delegation. “Excellent lecturers, an experience that allowed us see transport logistics from different perspectives than the ones we’re used to. All of this while living and experiencing a Mediterranean maritime journey. Thank you for everything” expressed one participant.

The teaching staff comprised: Álvaro Rodríguez Dapena, Planning and Development Director of Spanish Ports (Puertos del Estado); Ana Arévalo, Commercial Manager of SSS at the Port of Barcelona; Antonio Vargas, Ex General Director and current Board Member of Grimaldi Logistics Spain; Eduardo Bandeira, Executive Director of Intermodal Portugal; Raquel Nunes, Promotion and Training Manager and Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea.

The course developed the concept of co-modality as a tool to improve transport management. The motorways of the sea were shows as fundamental elements of a sustainable logistics supply chain. The course participants have to resolve a case study that evaluates short sea shipping solutions, and applies calculations of direct and indirect costs to determine an optimal transport solution in terms of economic, social and environmental terms.

IMO Toolkits to Tackle Maritime Emissions

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published a new set of toolkits for shippers and ports, to assess ways of reducing emissions across the maritime sector.

The Ship Emissions Toolkit and Port Emissions Toolkit have been developed under the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, the IMO working in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

Astrid Dispert, GloMEEP Technical Adviser, has stated that the new guides will help countries seeking to develop and strengthen regulatory frameworks related to the prevention of air pollution, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Dispert said: “Both the ship and port emission toolkits provide practical guidance on assessing emissions so that a national emission reduction strategy for the maritime sector can be developed.

“The GloMEEP guides provide a wealth of information on assessment techniques and how to develop a national strategy, as well as links to further practical guidance.”

According to a statement, both toolkits have been developed through extensive testing and feedback, gathered from their practical use during national and regional training activities.

Both toolkits feature decision support tools for evaluating emissions reduction opportunities, including guidance for conducting a rapid assessment that generates both quantitative and qualitative information.

Dispert added: “Ports and shipping are intrinsically linked – as such, efforts to reduce maritime emissions need to extend beyond seagoing ships alone.

“IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations on air pollution and energy efficiency are aimed at ships, but it is clear that for port emissions to be reduced, national authorities need to consider emissions from all sources, including cargo handling equipment, trucks – as well as domestic vessels.”

Source: Port Technology

A hugely successful fourth edition of the MOST Italy course in intermodal maritime logistics takes place in Italy

As in previous years, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport has concluded with great success another edition of the MOST (Motorways of the Sea Training) Italy course in intermodal logistics for Italian professionals. From 29 September to 2 October, 32 participants from Italy and Brazil attended this edition of the training.

The inauguration ceremony was held at the Port Authority of Civitavecchia, seat of the ADSP of the Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea and founding member of the Escola. Its president Francesco Maria Di Majo, accompanied by the Director of Harbour Security of the Ministry of Infrastructures, Mauro Coletta, have given the welcome to the participants and briefly introduced the present and the near future of intermodality in the Mediterranean and the fundamental importance of training in order to exploit the whole potential of the motorways of the sea.

Following the first theoretical classes on land, the large group of participants, accompanied by the teachers of the course, all of whom were experts in short sea shipping (SSS), boarded the Grimaldi Lines Ro-Pax vessel CRUISE BARCELONA, en route to Barcelona, along one of the motorways of the sea studied in the course.

Once again the Escola Europea was able to count on the collaboration of RAM (Rete Autostrade Mediterranee) Logistica – Infrastrutture – Trasport and ALIS (Associazione Logistica dell’Intermodalità Sostenibile), as well as the support of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport, Confitarma and Assoporti  for the organisation of the training.

During the four days of the course, the participants studied logistics and transport issues through theoretical lectures and practical workshops.

Andrea Campagna, from the Research Centre for Transport and Logistics of La Sapienza University in Rome, offered an in-depth analysis of transport costs, service times and other competitive factors to open the debate on the feasibility of a sustainable alternative to short sea shipping; Francesco Benevolo, director of RAM SpA, presented a wide overview of the motorways of the sea in Europe and explained the European Union’s environmental policy on transport, paying special attention to the fiscal incentives MAREBONUS and FERROBONUS, designed for intermodal transport; Nicolò Berghinz, representative of ALIS, presented some real cases of companies affiliated to the association that have successfully focused on intermodality to grow in the world of transport. The shipping companies and ports involved in the motorways of the sea between Spain and Italy explained the functioning of their infrastructures dedicated to short sea shipping: for the Port of Barcelona, Ana Arévalo, Commercial Manager specialized in SSS; for Grimaldi Lines, Commercial Manager Marcello Donnarumma; for GNV, Alessandro Feniello, Sales Freight Manager of GNV and for the ADSP of the Northern Central Tyrrhenian Sea, Giovanni Marinucci, Head of International Projects, who offered a presentation of the Port of Civitavecchia.

The contents of the course have been custom designed for the Italian professionals who attended the course, who came from different transport and logistics companies, four port system authorities and two higher technical institutes (ITS) in the Mobility area.

The aim of the training is to present participants with all the benefits to achieve by incorporating motorways of the sea as a key element in building efficient and sustainable supply chains. In addition to the theoretical lessons and workshops, the participants worked hard to solve a case study and were able to observe closely the infrastructure and equipment involved in intermodal operations. Finally, networking activities were organized to facilitate the development of networks of contacts between professionals and experts in the Italian sector who participated in the course.

The comments received from the participants were very positive. The level of satisfaction in this, as in the past, edition was very high: “I feel lucky to have been able to learn with and from professionals in the field, and with a spectacular organization”.

The Escola would like to thank all its founding members (Port de Barcelona, ADSP of the Northern Central Tyrrhenian Sea, Ports of Genoa, Grimaldi Lines and GNV) for their usual cooperation and generosity.

The dates for the fifth edition have already been set: from 5th to 8th of October 2019.

This year the Escola is also planning a course in intermodal maritime logistics for Spanish and Portuguese professionals, MOST Iberia, to be held from 20 to 23 October 2018.

European Parliament strengthens ‘polluter pays’ principle for ship waste management

The Transport Committee of the European Parliament adopted today the Meissner report on the Port Reception Facilities and gave a mandate to the Rapporteur to start negotiations with the Council to finalise the text of the new law.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes in particular the proposal to strengthen the ‘polluter pays’ principle by discouraging the delivery of unreasonable quantities of garbage, including dangerous waste, for a fixed fee. This proposal will better protect marine environment by increasing the quantities of waste delivered at ports. It aims to make sure that ships deliver their garbage at every port call and don’t skip waste deliveries to save time. It finally avoids that ports have to pay the extra costs of delivering amounts of garbage that exceed the normal quantities generated between two ship calls.

“The Transport Committee of the European Parliament has clearly voted in favour of a policy that incentivises ships to deliver waste generated on board in the ports. It also encourages ships to limit the waste at the source by preventing ships to deliver unreasonable amounts of waste without paying for it. We believe that the text adopted strikes the right balance between efficiency and responsibility and strengthens the ‘polluter pays’ principle. We are very thankful to the Transport Committee for their very balanced position in what has been from the beginning a technical and complicated piece of legislation. We count on the rapporteur and the negotiating team of the Parliament to defend this outcome in the further negotiations with the Council,” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, on the outcome of the EP vote.

However, ESPO regrets that the Parliament decided to make rebates mandatory for green management of waste on board of ships. While encouraging ships to work on sustainable waste management, ports believe the decision to give rebates must be taken at port level. Rebates are generally applied to address the local environmental challenges. In some areas, waste pollution is a great environmental concern while in others it is air quality and emissions. Furthermore, mandatory rebates disregard the existence of different business and governance models in ports across Europe.

EU to invest nearly €700 million in sustainable and innovative transport

The European Commission has proposed to invest €695.1 million in 49 key projects to develop sustainable and innovative transport infrastructure in Europe across all transport modes. Selected projects will provide infrastructure enabling greater use of alternative fuels and electric cars, modernise Europe’s air traffic management, and further develop waterborne and rail transport.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Our investment plan for Europe is delivering: today we are proposing to invest €700 million in 49 key transport projects through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). These projects are concentrated on the strategic sections of Europe’s transport network to ensure the highest EU added-value and impact. This will allow us to further accelerate our transition to low-emission mobility across Europe, and firmly deliver on the EU’s agenda for jobs and growth. We expect it to unlock a total of €2.4 billion of public and private co-financing.”

The largest part of the funding will be devoted to modernising European air traffic management (ATM – €290.3 million), developing innovative projects and new technologies for transport (€209.5 million), as well as upgrading the railway network, maritime connections, and ports and inland waterways (€103.6 million). In supporting the selected projects, the Commission is firmly delivering on the objectives outlined in its Clean Mobility package.

Over €250 million of CEF funding will be invested in 26 projects dedicated to developing new technologies in transport notably promoting alternative fuels, such as:

  • greening the maritime transport link between Swinoujscie port in Poland and Ystad port in Sweden;
  • deploying hydrogen public transport infrastructure in Denmark, the UK and Latvia;
  • building a network of bio-liquefied natural gas stations on roads connecting southern Spain and eastern Poland, via France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany;
  • developing zero-emission public transport services for Amsterdam airport, as well as electrifying urban and regional bus routes in Croatia, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The selected projects will also contribute to the establishment of a Single European Sky via modernising European air traffic management in 23 EU Member States and Serbia, the upgrading of the Ampsin-Neuville lock complex on the Middle Meuse river in Belgium, and the upgrading of the maritime ports of HaminaKotka and Leixões.

An additional €450 million is made available to finance alternative fuel infrastructure through the InnovFin Energy Demo Projects (EDP) and CEF Debt Instrument. They are managed by the European Investment Bank.

Background

All proposed projects were selected for funding via two competitive calls for proposals, open to projects in all EU Member States:

The 2017 CEF Transport Blending call launched on 8 February 2017, takes an innovative approach, making available an indicative budget of €1.35 billion of EU grants, to be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Promotional Banks or private sector investors. Some 69 applications, requesting a total of €1 billion in co-funding, were received by the second deadline. Of these, 35 projects were selected, totalling €404,8 million. Previously, 39 projects had been selected for funding, totalling € 1 billion in CEF Blending funding.

The CEF Transport SESAR call launched on 6 October 2017 aims to modernise ATM in Europe and provide a high performing ATM infrastructure that will enable the safe, efficient and environmentally friendly operation and development of air transport. The CEF Transport SESAR call was open for project proposals on the deployment of new and mature technologies and practices that support harmonised ATM systems and standards in Europe. Some 33 applications requesting €406.9 million were received, out of which 14 projects were selected, totalling €290.3 million.

The EU’s financial contribution comes in the form of grants, with different co-financing rates depending on the project type. Under the CEF programme, €23.2 billion is available for grants from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in EU Member States. Since 2014, the first CEF programming year, there have been four yearly waves of calls. In total, CEF has so far supported 641 projects with a total amount of €22.3 billion.

Next steps

Following EU Member States approval of the proposal, the Commission will adopt a formal decision in the coming weeks. The Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will then sign the grants with the project beneficiaries by January 2019.

Source: DG-MOVE

Artificial intelligence: Ports are beginning to take up positions

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an affordable technology, although it is only slowly being introduced into the business sector. Thus far, it has primarily been used to improve sales prediction techniques, but its potential applications are infinite and include lowering maintenance costs, improving product quality, planning manufacturing and increasing service level. In the sphere of transport, AI opens up a host of possibilities. Will the ports take advantage of them?

Today, the ports of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Singapore have already started to develop AI tools to improve predictions of maritime and land transport operations. Specifically, Hamburg has created a decision-making support system based on a predictive model of the behaviour of land transport. The model takes historical data, and using deep learning techniques and neural networks, it offers detailed predictions of the times when lorries should reach terminals. Based on this, the system notifies the lorry drivers of the terminal entrance times, and it gives the terminals a dynamic forecast of the workload they will have according to the changes in the surrounding conditions (road and access route saturation, real ship arrival time, degree of terminal saturation, etc.).

HOW DOES DEEP LEARNING WORK?

Deep learning and neural networks are two of the machine-learning methods which have come to the fore the most in recent years. They are inspired by the way neural networks work in the brain. They transform the entry values, layer by layer, until the value of the variables that they are trying to predict is found. Even though the results of neural networks are quite satisfactory, they need vast amounts of data to learn, and learning times are long (days or even weeks). Natural language processing, image pattern recognition and voice processing are the main success stories of deep learning. Thus, the evolution of data collection and management has to include the following levels: recording, analysing, simulating, predicting and finally recommending. Based on that, new-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain. And this does not only include lorries, since the same transport logistics that it applied on motorways can also be applied to any means of transport (railway, maritime or river).

New-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain.
The digital transformation in the port and the logistics chain entails huge amounts of data, many of them in real time. The competitiveness of future ports will largely depend on their ability to make use of this information. With AI tools that enable them to take advantage of the potentiality of this vast trove of data, the decisions taken by the managers will be higher quality, shared and generated more quickly, so they will likely optimise the time, cost and reliability of the operations in port-logistics environments. In a complementary fashion, all of this will end up leading to more flexible, real-time operations management. AI has reached the world of transport, and it is here to stay. The ports which realised its benefits and potentiality to change the sector first will unquestionably see operational efficiency gains compared to their competitors. Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data (Port Community Systems, Port Management Systems and Terminal Operating Systems, among other systems) will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence.

Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence

THE ORIGINS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Even though it seems like a recent concept, the origins of artificial intelligence date back to the Greeks. Aristotle (384-322 BC) was the first to determine a set of rules that partly describes the way the mind works to reach rational conclusions, and Ctesibius of Alexandria (285-222 BC) built the first self-controlled machine, a water-flow regulator (rational, but without the ability to reason). John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon coined the term artificial intelligence at the Dartmouth Workshop (USA) in 1956 to refer to the “science and inventiveness of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent calculation programmes”. Where these three scientists missed the mark was in their prediction of when the first smart machines would arrive. They trusted that by the 1970s we would be surrounded by artificial intelligence. However, the majority of tech companies did not decide to make significant investments in this field until the 1990s and 2000s, in a bid to improve the processing and analytical capacity of the vast amounts of data which were being generated in the new digital world. In fact, AI was definitively enshrined in 1997, when IBM demonstrated that an IT system was capable of beating a human at chess. And it wasn’t just any human; it was the world champion, Garry Kasparov. The supercomputer was called Deep Blue, and it marked the turning point when industrial technology and society at large became aware of the real importance and possibilities of artificial intelligence.

Source: PierNext 

Port Digitalisation

Three Considerations for Smart Port Collaboration

Ports that want to become ‘smart’ need to use technologies that automatically adapt to changing situations.

However, for that to happen, there has to be a change in attitude when it comes to collaboration, which is dependent on key players — who may be in competition with one another — agreeing on methods of creating more visibility throughout the supply chain.

Here are three arguments from authors of technical papers in the Edition 78 of the Port Technology Journal that show how and why the attitude to such practices may be changing.

1# Digital Tools for Next Generation Workers: Adam Yaron, CEO, FAST Applications

The next generation of people entering the profession have the expertise to use the latest online platforms and tools, which focus on process and managing costs and look to automate and streamline processes, build intermodal relationships, improve customer satisfaction, and maximize opportunities for cost savings.

A digital freight forwarder must offer a range of digital services to the 21st-century customers.

The next step is to create a social supply chain management where strong alliances can be created by networking and sharing data with freight partners online (agents, customers, suppliers, carriers, etc.), which in turn creates a stronger bond and connection to compete as a group.

2# Port Community Connectivity: Chris Collins, Chief Operating Officer, Containerchain

Major port centres including Antwerp, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Rotterdam, Singapore and others, plus shipping line and global terminal operators looking to get more embedded in the supply chain ‘beyond the gate’, are embarking on digital initiatives to capture, harvest, pool and share more data in more collaborative, real-time ways, with maritime and landside logistics stakeholders.

Singapore has recently provided two significant examples of this strategic direction under its National Trade Platform – with plans to connect over 10,000 of its existing registered users to a single independent Transport Integrated Platform (TRIP) that has already connected a large majority of the landside containerized supply chain, and in doing so, delivered significant operational and economic benefits to its stakeholders.

Balancing out platform competition and collaboration, international and localized solutions, closed and open offerings and free market choice against regulatory oversight is a very difficult challenge, but not one that can be avoided if we all want to reap the benefits of digital collaboration.

3# Working as One: Derek Kober, VP Marketing, Navis

The first step to tackle the fundamental lack of visibility in the industry and achieve joint success among key stakeholders is the broader sharing of critical shipment information across the supply chain.

In Navis’ report, surveyed executives echoed this sentiment, reporting the following:

• Agree on the need for stakeholders to operate with a common set of data (97% important; 85% very important)

• Believe the adoption of new technologies is crucial to enabling real-time collaboration (98% important; over 50% very important)

• Believe they will see substantial improvement in operational performance once real-time collaboration is achieved (one-third predict gains over 75%; over half expect gains of at least 50%)

Both voice and data communications are vital to the future of smart port operations.

Automation, collaboration and safety at ports and terminals are all dependent on digital, connected systems that allow mission-critical practices.

Source: Port Technology

The Escola and FONASBA sign collaboration agreements with the first partners for the SAILNET Programme

On the 28th of September 2018, the director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, Eduard Rodes, travelled to Naples to sign an agreement of collaboration with the partners of the SAILNET Programme: Mr. Gian Enzo Duci from FEDERAGENTI (Italy), Mr. A. Mantrach from APRAM (Morocco), Mr. António Belmar from AGEPOR (Portugal) and Mr. Walid Dziri from All seas Shipping Agency (Tunisia). The meeting took place during the Naples Shipping Week assembly dedicated to “Port&ShippingTech”.

The signature of the agreement constitutes the kick-off of the Escola’s new exchange programme: SAILNET – Ship Agents Interchange Learning Network. This project has the aim to implement a unique network of knowledge made of courses and internships for young and promising maritime and logistics managers.

SAILNET is an international training and exchange programme successfully established today in 6 countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and Argentina). The course is an interactive, hands-on series of sessions designed to provide young professionals with knowledge and leadership skills, with the content of the sessions building on each other.

Promoted by FONASBA/ECASBA and ESCOLA EUROPEA with the support of the national shipping agents associations of the involved countries, the main aim of SAILNET Programme is to implement an Exchange programme, which may lead to possible collaborations between the companies and firms of the internships. This kind of international and intercultural approach also fosters the creation of new and lasting relationships and, more widely, of a network of people from around the world that could one day result in solid professional and collaborating bonds.

Check out the website http://www.sailnetprogramme.com to find out more about the SAILNET Programme.

For more information on the Escola you can write to info@escolaeuropea.eu.

ESPO calls for more ambition on the harmonisation of data – European Maritime Single Window

ESPO welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment (COM2018 278 final). For European ports though, reducing the administrative burden in maritime transport and facilitating trade is a top priority. ESPO wants more ambition on the harmonisation of data definitions and data sets, while maintaining the existing reporting systems. This would further reduce the administrative burden and would facilitate trade. This is the guiding principle of ESPO’s position paper in response to the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment which was published on 17 May.

For European ports, the first priority should be to simplify administrative procedures by ensuring that the same data sets can be reported to each competent authority in the same way. In this context, ESPO welcomes the establishment of a harmonised data set. However, there is still work to be conducted to define the data set in detail – both data elements and data definitions. At the same time, ESPO agrees with the proposal to allow Member States to introduce or amend data requirements as in some cases ports might need to ask additional data to respond to exceptional circumstances. In that respect, this flexibility should also be extended to individual competent authorities.

ESPO in particular welcomes that the proposal builds upon the existing National Single Windows, while also allowing the reporting to be carried out through the Port Community Systems (PCS). The proposal rightly acknowledges the well functioning of PCS’s and the investments already made. European ports highlight that any solution should be technology neutral and should focus on data harmonisation.

Furthermore, a governance mechanism for the National Single Window should be established giving it the competence to store and redistribute data to the respective authorities. Otherwise, the proposal would not result in trade facilitation and simplification, but would just shift the burden from the ship side to the competent authorities.

Finally, ESPO considers the “reporting once principle” a valid means to achieve the objectives of the proposal, provided that it covers the re-use of data that do not change between subsequent port calls and takes into consideration the limited amount of data to be reused between authorities at a given port call.

“We appreciate that the proposal acknowledges to a large extent and builds upon the current reporting environment in maritime transport. Across the sector there is a strong wish to simplify and reduce the administrative barriers. We can however not ignore the mandatory reporting obligations shipping, ports and other authorities need to comply with by national, European and international law. We believe that working on harmonised data standards is the only way forward to make the reporting more efficient. Common standards are far more important than harmonised systems. Technology is moving fast. We need a legislative framework that allows the use of already well functioning systems and the uptake of new technologies. A reporting environment should not undermine the ongoing digitalisation processes, and encourage the uptake of new solutions in a technology neutral way,” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

The proposal is currently being discussed in the Council and the European Parliament. MEP Deirdre Clune (Ireland/PPE) has been appointed as rapporteur in the Transport committee. ESPO looks forward to working with the Parliament’s rapporteurs and the shadow rapporteurs, the Austrian Presidency, the Council and the Commission in view of achieving a new and efficient legislative framework that would further reduce the administrative burden in maritime transport and facilitate trade.

Source: ESPO Press Release