European Shipping Week (ESW) has once again been branded a resounding success with leaders of the global shipping industry and regulators from across the European Union and beyond using the week to meet and discuss issues of mutual concern.
An official calendar of 30 high level events was supported by an equally impressive number of bilateral meetings between industry and government while up to 350 delegates and guests attended the official ESW17 Conference and Gala Dinner held at the Steigenberger Wiltcher’s Hotel in Brussels on Wednesday March 1st.
Acknowledging the success of the week, European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “European Shipping Week addresses key issues currently facing European and Global shipping: investment, innovation, decarbonisation and the digitalisation of the maritime sector. Meeting the people that work in maritime transport – experiencing their knowledge and passion – is what strikes me most during ESW. I want to congratulate the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and all other associations who have contributed to this programme.”
Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of ECSA and Chairman of the ESW Steering Group, looked at the importance that an event such as ESW, plays in strengthening relations between the industry and politicians.
He said: “The second edition of European Shipping Week provided an excellent platform for frank discussions about the future of European shipping policy. It was great to see that policy-makers, and industry stakeholders were not afraid to speak their minds, but were also ready to listen to each other. We must now use this momentum to give shape to an ambitious European shipping strategy for the next decade.”
The European shipping industry, represented by the members of the ESW Steering Group – CLIA Europe, EBA, ECASBA, ECSA, EMPA, ETA, ETF, EuDA, Interferry and WSC – used ESW to issue a joint statement welcoming the European Commission’s mid-term review of the EU Maritime Transport Strategy 2009-2018. While endorsing the emphasis on better regulation, the joint statement said that absolute priority must in this respect be given to a fundamental overhaul of the EU Reporting Formalities’ Directive.
“The revision should lead to a true European single window environment for maritime carriers that fully ensures the ‘reporting once’ principle and which shares all necessary cargo and conveyance data between governments and all relevant authorities. This would reduce the administrative burden for ship crews, shipping companies and ship agents. More simplifications of procedures and requirements are, however, needed to put shipping on an equal par with land-based transport modes, which already benefit from a Single Market. Europe’s commerce and economy need shipping to have a genuine Maritime Space without Barriers that will deliver real environmental and logistics benefits.”
It called upon the EU institutions and Member States to go beyond a regulatory fitness check of existing legislation. A new shipping strategy is needed for the next decade, beyond 2018, it stated. “The future EU shipping strategy should be ambitious and aim at promoting Europe as a globally leading, high-quality region for shipping to do business in.
“This requires investment in an attractive business climate, a highly skilled European workforce, consistent implementation of international environmental and safety standards as well as policies which are truly relevant and conducive to facilitating trade. The strategy should firmly put shipping in its diversity at the heart of the maritime cluster,” the statement said.