Although the free movement of goods is a basic freedom enshrined in European law, it has still not become established for the shipping industry. To fully exploit the potential of short sea shipping, it must be treated differently than intercontinental shipping. Short-sea operations should receive the same treatment as road haulage and rail transport, both with respect to customs formalities and to environmental standards.
Short-sea transport partly carries passengers and/or goods on the sea, but without crossing the ocean. Short-sea transport has a number of assets: it is cheap, environmentally-friendly and innovative. Contrary to the haulage industry, short-sea vessels do not create traffic jams and they generate much less pollution.
Unfortunately short-sea transport remains beset by a heavy load of red tape in the ports. Vessels often have to wait for hours or even days before they can get their consignment cleared by customs. Because of the extra costs and delays involved, short-sea transport continues to be at a disadvantage, all its potential notwithstanding, in relation to competing transport modes like road haulage.
Administrative simplification in a unified market
The ‘Blue Belt’ project should provide an answer to this heavy customs procedures for short sea shipping. This means that if a ship does not leave the territorial waters, is no longer subject to the import and exportsystem of the EU. Intra-European maritime cargo reserves thus its status of ‘community goods’ enabling border checks to be phased out.
Maritime Single Window for the standardization of information flows
Also the better management and the standardization of information flows can simplify administrative burdens for maritime transport. Cargo is in fact often controlled by various government agencies which charge the same information given to several government agencies.
With Maritime Single Window, it is possible to reports / returns only send once electronically in which is then divided by the various competent authorities.