Shipping is still not enjoying a genuine single market and remains hampered by endless paperwork according to European shipowners and seafarers, contending this is to the detriment of the crew, which faces increased workload with repercussions on job satisfaction and overall smooth shipping operations.


In a joint statement to the 'Digital Assembly 2017' co-organised, June 15-16, by the European Commission and the Maltese presidency of the EU, the shipowners' body Ecsa and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), seafarers and shipowners highlight the importance that shipping is urgently better served by smart digital solutions to finally decrease the administrative burden they face.

Ecsa and ETF maintain the June 2016 Reporting Formalities Directive aimed to simplify and rationalise reporting formalities for ships in European ports has not eased the situation. "Crews and companies face a worse situation today than before with shipping companies and crew facing increased paper work, different software requirements, a multiplicity of authorities and intermediate parties," says the joint statement. "Procedures and requirements are not only complex but also repetitive, resulting in a loss of productivity, job satisfaction and unnecessary workload and stress for ship crews."

It goes on: "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 EC 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.

"There is no time for complacency here. A failed EU legislation needs to be remedied as soon as possible, " says the Ecsa and ETF. They call on the EC "to prioritise this matter as part of its Digital Agenda and Better Regulation Initiative and to propose a revision for it to be completed during this legislature". They also call on the European Parliament and EU states to support and prioritise such a revision.

Filed: 2017-06-15