136/17/Gen.Inf. EU adopts Port Regulation

The European Parliament has finalized a three years legislative process concerning the Port Services Regulation, also known now as Ports Regulation, by adopting a report on the Regulation which establishes a framework for the organisation of port services and financial transparency of ports presented by the rapporteur MEP Knut Fleckenstein.

FEPORT says this achievement is a positive outcome “The adoption of the Ports Regulation in Parliament is an important step, but for the 1200 companies that FEPORT represents, the text has given birth to high expectations about transparency and consultation.” says Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, FEPORT Secretary General.
“We hope that Member States will guarantee a proper implementation of the rules about transparency and consultation of private investors in ports. Those rules are, from our point of view, good instruments to ensure a level playing field, to prevent risks of distortion of competition and to avoid unsustainable investments in ports” continues FEPORT Secretary General.

“It is also crucial that the ongoing second procedure of consultation about the Global Block Exemption Regulation does not lead to the adoption of a text which contradicts the spirit and some key definitions that have been agreed upon in the framework of the long and exhaustive discussions about the Ports Regulation. Consistency between rules applicable to ports will be crucial.” concludes FEPORT Secretary General.
The proposal was originally put forward in 2013 but stalled due to the European Parliament elections in 2014 and then picked up again by the same rapporteur. It was the subject of intense discussions and long negotiations.
ECSA’s Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven commented: “ECSA has deplored throughout the discussions that this proposal does not address some of the market access problems in ports shipowners face. However, now that after 15 years of discussions we finally have a first EU law on ports, we should build on this and see it as a first step towards a genuine motorways of the sea in which ports are key points.”
He added: “Especially for short sea shipping operators, who make frequent port calls and for whom by consequence well performing port services are proportionally extremely important, we call upon the European Commission to take now further efforts to ensure this sector can deliver its potential.”
According to a brochure published by ECSA, priorities for an EU short sea shipping agenda include the following:

▪ Identify all barriers that prevent the establishment of true Motorways of the Sea
▪ Complete the Single Market for shipping
▪ Simplify procedures for regular short sea services with third countries
▪ Ensure market access to port services and guarantee free movement of goods
▪ Devise competition-neutral ways to financially stimulate short sea shipping.

To deliver high quality services, the rules include new requirements for port service providers to ensure that employees receive the necessary training, with particular emphasis on health and safety. These training requirements should also be regularly updated to meet the challenges of technological innovation.

The regulation does not impose a specific management model for ports. However, it does lay down conditions if they wish to set minimum requirements for services such as towage, mooring, bunkering and the collection of ship-generated waste, or to restrict the number of providers of these services. For example, ports could limit the number of service providers in order to ensure safety, security and environmental sustainability.

Cargo handling and passenger services will also be subject to financial transparency rules, but are exempted from those on the organisation of port services.

The rules now need to be approved by the Council of the EU.

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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