On Thursday the European Parliament Transport Committee will vote on Deirdre Clune’s report on the draft regulation for a European Maritime Single Window Environment. The World Shipping Council (WSC) and the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA), which represent shipowners and maritime carriers that are the principal parties affected by this legislation, strongly support the Commission proposal and the rapporteur’s recommendations.
Currently the shipping industry faces a mosaic of different information requirements and a costly array of differing local IT systems to connect to. These obstacles, which impede the greater use of maritime transport as a sustainable and green transport mode within the EU, would be reduced by the proposed simplifications and efficiencies. The EU Social Partners have also welcomed the positive impact that reducing this administrative burden will have on the working conditions of ships’ crews.
These improvements to the European transport system will only be brought about with an ambitious new Regulation.
WSC and ECSA call upon MEPs to support amendments that ensure a fully Harmonised Maritime Single Window data set (EMSWe) and that new national data elements can only be requested if truly needed.
Secondly, WSC and ECSA call upon MEPs to support maximum harmonisation of the reporting tools, whether the reporting is done via system-to-system connections or by manually submitting the information via a so-called Graphical User Interfaces.
WSC and ECSA stress that the optimum solution for system-to-system reporting would be the establishment of a voluntary system-to-system ‘Common Access Point Interface Module’ at EU level.
Martin Dorsman, ECSA’s Secretary–General, explains: “We welcome amendments tabled that will allow companies to report via a common access point interface at EU level. This would in no way replace the national single windows, nor interfere with their decision making or the availability of data for individual ports. Nor would it jeopardise the safety of the crew, the vessel and its cargo or the port. It would simply route data directly from the maritime operator to the relevant national single window via one EU router and then relay back to the shipping company any responses from that national single window. The benefit of a common EU access point is to eliminate any potential for divergent system requirements or deployment schedules that could happen with national deployments of the module over time.”
John Butler, CEO and President of WSC, added: “Another major benefit would result from a maritime carrier that is active in multiple Member States only having to establish one IT connection in order to lodge required information. A voluntary Common Access Point Interface and a decentralised solution for national single windows are not mutually exclusive. Nor would a common access point represent a threat to Port Community Systems that provide important services to shipping companies and other parties in the supply chain that must be allowed to continue”.
WSC and ECSA believe that the EU is on course for significantly improving the efficiency of EU maritime transport. They call on the European Parliament to seize this opportunity with an ambitious report for the building of a genuine EU Maritime Single Window framework.