European seafarers and shipowners highlight the importance that shipping is urgently better served by smart digital solutions to finally decrease the administrative burden they face.
European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) call on the European Commission to prioritise this matter as part of its Digital Agenda and Better Regulation Initiative and to propose a revision in time for it to be completed during this legislature.
They call upon the European Parliament and Member States to fully support and prioritise such a revision.
Shipping today is still not enjoying a genuine single market and remains hampered by endless paperwork. This is to the detriment of the crew, which faces increased workload with repercussions on rest-time and job satisfaction. It also affects the overall smooth shipping operations, especially for short sea shipping operators as they frequently call at EU ports within short time spans.
The Reporting Formalities Directive that aimed to simplify and rationalise reporting formalities for ships in European ports as of June 2016 has unfortunately not helped in easing the situation. Crews and companies face a worse situation today than before.
Rather than having a single European window, diverging national solutions were developed and even at Member States’ level there is very often no single solution in place.
Digital solutions are there, all actors just need now to implement them on the basis of harmonised datasets and formats for cargo, crew and vessel data. A joint effort is also required to reduce reporting obligations to a minimum list of truly necessary formalities.
The solution should take state of the art technology into account, ideally data is available in a ‘cloud’ or other platform from where relevant authorities pull the needed information. Only in this way shipping can be put on an equal par with land-based transport modes, which already benefit from a single market.
The EU Social Partners in the maritime sector call on the European Commission to urgently remedy the situation through a comprehensive revision of the Reporting Formalities Directive.
It should create a true European single window environment for crew and companies that fully ensures the ‘reporting once’ principle and which shares all necessary cargo and conveyance data between governments and relevant authorities.