From March 9, 2016, members of the European Parliament will be voting on EU port Regulation and on rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein’s report, which was previously adopted by the Transport (TRAN) Committee.
The adopted TRAN text was intended to address an ongoing request from port users to ensure that the freedom to provide services also applies to ports.
Ship-owners are have stated how they are puzzled as the chapter on the ‘organisation of ports’ remains an empty box, with some of the most essential port services having been excluded.
On the whole, European ship-owners are said to be disappointed as this was one of the significant factors of the Treaty of the European Union.
Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA), said: “I can only emphasise what we have been stating for many years: ship-owners still face restrictive practices and legal obstacles in many port service markets.
“This has repercussions on various elements such as viability and efficiency of short sea shipping, whilst the initial proposal of the Commission lacked in ambition, the text has now been weakened further and is even introducing additional restrictions.”
The proposal also covers financial transparency and foresees mechanisms for consultation of users and stakeholders.
Patrick Verhoeven concluded: “Despite the fact that these elements are certainly a step in the right direction, the text that is on the table for the vote tomorrow remains unsatisfactory and leaves a lot to be desired.
“We therefore urge co-legislators to heed our call and improve it after the vote and during the upcoming trilogue negotiations.”