testata inforMARE
3 giugno 2023 - Anno XXVII
Quotidiano indipendente di economia e politica dei trasporti
20:39 GMT+2
FORUM dello Shipping
e della Logistica




The year 2006 showed again a healthy growth of world trade with, as a result, an increase of 5.5 % in tonne-miles of maritime transport - the main carrier of transport international trade. European shipping maintained its key role in global transport with a substantial share of 41 % of the global merchant fleet. For 2007/2008 a slightly lower increase in global merchandise trade of 6 % as against 8 % in 2006 is expected. Demand for shipping services will be positive; however, high fuel costs, imbalances, particularly in container services and congestion, together with the effects of tonnage oversupply in some sectors, may have a negative influence.

The key points that are on the agenda of the EU Institutions are summarised in this annual report covering 2006/2007.


ECSA deeply appreciates the unique consultation process that has been followed on a future maritime policy and supports a holistic approach with, as basic points: ensuring the potential for growth in Europe through adequate transport capacity, ensuring a stable and competitive environment for EU shipping, keeping regulations global, supporting a positive development of shipping in the EU, and, last but not least, taking a proactive environmental approach. These key points need to be part of the philosophy of the future maritime policy and we look forward to a continued exchange of views with the European Institutions and stakeholders in this respect.

It is also essential for ECSA to continue to promote the image of shipping to convince the public and the political world of what we, shipowners, all know, i.e shipping is the safest and most effective, economical, and environment friendly of all modes of transport.


A future European Port Policy was also subject to a useful and constructive consultation process. ECSA and many other stakeholders stressed the necessity of extension of port capacity and hinterland connections as a priority item. At the same time we should get the best from the existing capacity by increasing efficiency.This is of particular importance for the ongoing promotion of short sea services and the further development of motorways of the sea.


Care for the environment has become a key item on everybody’s agenda. In particular air emissions and climate change are already today subject to intensive discussions, in the EU as well as globally. Shipping is by far the most environment friendly transport mode with a good performance on emissions. However, this is not a reason for complacency. The industry is and will be increasingly proactive in looking at different options to further reduce air emissions on all fronts. It has become clear that a holistic approach is the only way forward since measures addressing one emission may have an influence on another.

Shipping being a global industry it goes without saying that a global solution to air emissions is the sole way forward. The shipping industry is fully committed to further international reduction of air emissions in the shortest possible timeframe through the IMO. It is essential that, following the analysis of all the various options on the table to reduce air emissions (MARPOL Annex VI) by the cross government/industry scientific group, tangible measures are agreed upon by the IMO in 2008.

While shipping only accounts for some 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the industry is currently examining the options in this regard. By definition, measures to reduce global warming need to be taken at the global level to be effective.


ECSA appreciates that the Council of Transport Ministers has reached in June a political agreement on three proposals of the Safety Package III notably dealing with Port State Control, Vessel Traffic Monitoring including places of refuge and Accident Investigation. The Council has rightly left the controversial proposals aside, particularly the proposal on Civil Liability, which would seriously distort the global maritime liability regime as well as the insurance and compensation system. ECSA, instead, strongly advocates the ratification and application of the relevant international Conventions notably LLMC 1996, the HNS Convention and Bunker Oil Spills Convention, which will give a proper liability and compensation system on a global basis.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is increasingly playing an important role in the areas of safety and environment.The Board of ECSA had very useful exchange of views with EMSA at its meeting in Lisbon in June 2007. There is a clear commitment to working closely with EMSA in the future.


Taking over the Presidency of ECSA from Lennart Simonsson, I would like again to thank and congratulate him for leading ECSA in such an active and efficient way. The coming period will be hectic with quite some policy issues on the table. Already in October we will have Commission papers on a future maritime policy, European ports policy, logistics, and on motorways of the sea.We will also have a further consultation process on future guidelines for the application of EU Competition Rules on maritime transport. The social partners ECSA/ETF hope to reach an agreement towards the end of the year on transferring part of the MLC Convention into EU law. As I mentioned above, the environment and in particular ship emissions will rightly be a key item on our agenda, in Europe as well as globally.

I look forward to a continued cooperation with the European Institutions: the Commission, Member States and the European Parliament.

I know that the ECSA membership will support me in my challenging task.

Philippe Louis-Dreyfus





Economic and trade developments show progress

The year 2006 again showed a healthy expansion of world trade in real terms and in dollar value by 15% to $11.76 trillion. Global GDP accelerated by 3.7%. The on average high oil prices well into 2007 have not had a serious impact on merchandise trade or on inflation. To a large extent this can be attributed to the shift of production to very competitive manufacturers in Asia, while at least in the EU the oil consumption remained stable or even decreased. According to a WTO report a large part of the trade acceleration can be attributed to the marked recovery in Europe’s external trade.

Although the US trade deficit continued to grow, the US merchandise export growth expanded faster than imports for the first time in a decade. China’s merchandise exports again increased at a staggering level of 27% and second half 2006 exceeded US overall exports for the first time, while India also showed an outstanding economic and trade growth.

Shipping developments very positive

As a result, maritime transport as main transport mode in international trade showed in 2006 an overall increase of 5.5% in tonne-miles. The dry bulk sector performed particularly well throughout the year while the oil tanker trade was still good, but subject to more volatile market conditions. LNG trades went up by another 12% and the fleet expanded to 225 units (139 end 2005) with 141 more units on order. Car carriers enjoy high demand while conventional and specialised vessels continue to perform well in their particular markets. The much published and feared threat of overcapacity by massive new container vessel newbuildings was absorbed by another strong growth in world container trades by 10.4% to 129 million full TEU.The Far East – north Europe / Mediterranean trade was particularly strong with a 16.9% increase and continued well into first half 2007.World ports handled 426 million TEU, including transhipments and empties.

Outlook encouraging

Although mostly more positive provisional data for first half 2007 may prove this wrong; a consensus among forecasters and the WTO favours a moderate deceleration in world economic growth in 2007, with a growth in GDP of close to 3% and an increase in global merchandise trade slowing down to 6% as against 8% in 2006. The outlook for demand for maritime transport is equally positive, but high fuel costs, continuing imbalances especially in container trades and on-land transport congestion may take their toll.

* Detailed fleet and trade statistics will be found in the statistics section


Maintaining a strong share

European shipping operating in global markets fared well as described above. The EEA registered merchant fleet showed a 3% increase in GT with a 1,6% increase in the number of vessels. The EEA share against the World fleet reduced from 23,7 to 23%; the EU registered share is 20%. However, looking at the EEA beneficially controlled fleet, the very substantial share of over 41% is maintained.

European shipping continues to be a staunch contributor to foreign exchange earnings. Based on EUROSTAT data the contribution of EU maritime transport services to the current account balance of payment is €13.6 billion - for comparison, the overall EU-27 BoP deriving from external trade for 2006 shows a deficit of € -92 billion.





A unique consultation process

ECSA very much appreciates the unique consultation process that has been followed since the publication of the Green Paper on a future maritime policy in June 2006. At its meeting on 23 November 2006 the ECSA Board had a constructive exchange of views with Commissioner Joe Borg on the follow up to the Green Paper.

The ECSA comments and suggestions to the Green Paper as well as the replies to the questions raised in the consultation are evidence of the benefit that ECSA sees in the initiative towards an integrated maritime policy. ECSA reiterated that the five themes brought forward in its submission of June 2005 should remain the basic goals:

  • Ensuring the potential for growth in Europe through adequate transport capacity.
  • Ensuring a stable and competitive environment for EU shipping.
  • Keeping regulation global.
  • Supporting a positive development of shipping in the EU.
  • Taking an environmental approach with a global perspective.
The indispensable role of maritime services for European and global trade and for the daily life of European citizens should be a fundamental premise in the search for the right balance between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

The global character of shipping services has to be taken into account on all fronts, particularly with regard to the competitive position of the European shipping industry, safety and environment issues, and a policy for maintaining maritime know how in Europe.

Ratification of international Conventions is a fundamental element to protect the global environment and the people working on ships, and at the same time the simplest way to avoid substandard shipping. ECSA therefore suggests that the Commission and Member States should play a more active role in the ratification of the international Conventions in the EU as well as outside the EU. A regular monitoring process on the ratification of the relevant IMO Conventions by Member States at Transport Council meetings is recommended. Ratification and application of international conventions should also be part of the EU external relations policy.

The Lisbon Policy aiming at making of Europe the most competitive trading entity in the world, should be a constant theme in the holistic approach towards a future European maritime policy.

By its mere existence, the Green Paper has the benefit of stressing the importance of the maritime industries for European and global trade as well as underlining its global character. ECSA strongly believes that the Green Paper should lead to an EU maritime policy aiming at maintaining and enhancing in the EU the world’s biggest maritime clusters. To achieve this ambitious goal, the follow up to the Green Paper should not necessarily result in new rules but rather in some principles to guide the policy in the coming years.

ECSA looks forward to the Commission Communication that will be issued in October 2007. The industry hopes that the future maritime policy will support a further growth of European shipping.






Expansion of Ports and Hinterland connections key

ECSA appreciates the Commission’s initiative in launching a consultation on an overall European Ports Policy. This is an essential element of a European transport policy, especially taking into account that 90 % of European trade is transported by sea. A continuous improvement towards more efficient services is a key element for the maritime services that Europe relies on.

Throughout the process of discussions ECSA has reiterated that, whilst we should get the best from existing capacity by increasing efficiency, the priority item within a European Port Policy should be the extension of port capacity and hinterland connections. Otherwise maritime transport would not be able to contribute to the building of a sustainable transport system at the growing pace which is expected for it in the EU Transport Policy. In this context a fair balance between environmental concerns, port development and the wider economy has to be established.

Ports are fundamental handover points within the supply chain. Improving supply chains is one of the key elements of the Lisbon Policy to make the European economy the best in the world. It would be difficult to explain and to understand why one specific sector in a maritime supply chain should be an exception to this policy.

All port services should be involved in an ongoing approach towards improvements. Safety is a key prerequisite - but the safety argument should not be abused in order to maintain or to introduce protectionist measures - a contestable safety risk assessment is essential. Technical progress should be encouraged instead of being opposed; qualification of all involved in port services is essential but should not be abused with protectionist measures.

ECSA shares the view expressed by the vast majority of stakeholders that rather than introducing a new Directive “soft law” should have the preference as a first step. The fact remains that the Treaty and in particular the four freedoms and the competition rules apply to port services. The European Commission is the guardian of the Treaty and should ensure that it is properly applied. A “soft law” framework could be helpful in this respect.

The shipping industry hopes that the above views will be reflected in a Commission policy paper that will be issued in October 2007.


Marco Polo

In March 2007, the European Commission launched a first call under the Marco Polo II Programme with proposals for projects to be submitted by 6 July 2007.

The Marco Polo II Programme, adopted in May 2006, will grant Community financial assistance for start-up, catalyst or common learning actions with an aim at reducing road congestion and enhancing intermodal transport. In addition, the Marco Polo II Programme will also grant Community funding to Motorways of the Sea actions and Traffic Avoidance actions. Projects must relate to Member States but may include neighbouring countries.

The Marco Polo II Programme runs from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013 and has an overall budgetary envelope of € 400 million.


In November 2006, a Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency was set up in Brussels.

The main tasks of the Agency include technical and financial management of projects co-financed under the TEN-T budget, management of Community funds available for the promotion of the TEN-T and providing the Commission with expertise.

Motorways of the Sea

Mr Luis Francisco Valente de Oliveira, who held different Ministerial functions in previous Portuguese Governments, was appointed as European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea (MoS).

In April, a joint French-Spanish call for tender for Motorways of the Sea projects was published. The two countries have worked together to provide funding to maritime links between French and Spanish ports at the Atlantic side.

The objective of the initiative is to reduce the circulation on the road network between Spain and France by 100 000 to 150 000 lorries annually, and shift them to maritime transport. To that end, France has a budget of € 41 million whilst Spain plans a budget of maximum of € 15 million for each Motorways of the Sea project.

The selected projects should, amongst others, improve existing connections as well as create new shipping lines.

In July 2007, the North Sea Motorways of the Sea Task Force issued a joint call for the submission of project proposals allowing consortia of at least ports and transport operators to develop Motorways of the Sea connections starting in the North Sea region.

The main focus of the call is related to an improvement and development of sea transport based multimodal logistic chains and a realisation of modal shift towards short sea shipping by establishing appropriate infrastructure and facilities. This is very much in line with project launched by the Baltic Sea MoS Task Force.

The North Sea Task Force comprises Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Norway.


In June 2006, the European Commission issued a Communication on freight transport logistics, addressing areas of actions to improve transport logistics. Actions included the establishment of Focal Points to identify and solve bottlenecks hampering the development of or promotion of freight transport logistics.

The Commission is expected to issue a Communication in October 2007 including an action plan on logistics.

In the meantime, the Commission has launched a consultation process inviting stakeholders to identify a set of bottlenecks hampering freight transport logistics. Some 500 bottlenecks have been identified, comprising bottlenecks of an operational, infrastructural or administrative nature.

In June 2007, a first meeting of the Freight Transport Logistics Focal Points was held to appoint coordinators for each individual bottleneck so as to facilitate possible solutions.


A cluster approach of the maritime industries

The 13th plenary meeting of the Maritime Industries Forum took place in Oslo on 5/6 October 2006. There were some 300 participants. The occasion was marked by speeches from the Norwegian Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Industry. For the Commission, Vice President Günther Verheugen, Commissioner Joe Borg and DG TREN Deputy Director General Zoltan Kazatsay participated.

In view of the timing the main theme of the plenary meeting was the Green Paper on a Future Maritime Policy. It allowed MIF participants to have a first exchange of views on a holistic maritime policy. Specific attention was drawn to the importance of the European maritime clusters for the EU economy. It was stressed that the future holistic policy should promote their further growth.

On transport issues the MIF parties continued the constructive and useful exchange of views. The MIF is pleased to see that a solution for the 45 ft containers was found following its suggestions. The Group Transport of the MIF submitted suggestions on the bottleneck exercise on Freight Transport Logistics and will contribute to the Communication on logistics that the Commission will issue in October 2007. A submission was also made to the Green Paper on a Future Maritime Policy stressing the necessity of expansion of ports and hinterland connections and drawing attention to the problems encountered in this respect.

The next plenary meeting of the MIF will take place in Malta in October 2008.





Following discussions and consultation starting in 2003 the Council of Economy Ministers agreed on 25 September 2006 with the Commission proposal to repeal the block exemption for liner conferences and to lift the exclusion of Commission implementing powers for tramp shipping and cabotage.


  • As from 18 October 2008 the block exemption covered by Council Regulation 4056/86 will be lifted. Consequently liner conferences will be prohibited in EU trades.
  • The Commission will issue guidelines on the application of Competition Rules on liner shipping prior to 18 October 2008.
Following a submission by the European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) the Commission published an “Issues Paper” covering the post Conference regime for consultation with stakeholders. The aim of the paper was to create a basis for the Guidelines covering information exchange between operators and forecasting of supply and demand. ELAA is in further discussion with the Commission in order to have clear and workable guidelines for the future.

The publication of draft Guidelines for a further consultation round is expected in September 2007.


  • EC Competition Rules have always applied on tramp shipping; however, the enforcement powers were with Member States.
  • As from 18 October 2006 the exclusion of tramp shipping and cabotage from Regulation 1/2003 has been lifted giving also enforcement powers to the Commission in addition to Member States.
The Commission will also issue Guidelines on the application of EU Competition Rules on tramp shipping together with the Guidelines for liner shipping. Since tramp shipping is not comparable to liner shipping and terra incognita for many, ECSA supplied the Commission with quite some background information including a study made by Clarkson, examples of pool agreements and responses to different questions as brought forward.

A consortium of consultants made a report for the Commission on the tramp market covering economic facts and figures on the supply and the demand side as well as a legal assessment of tramp shipping versus EU Competition Rules.

In general the consultants share the view that tramp shipping is a global industry operating/bidding in a global market of ships and cargoes. It was furthermore confirmed that shipping pools have limited market shares and have not been in a position to be dominant or to make abuse of their market position. The consultants stressed that “ the evidence did not indicate that pools have historically ever been able to use their joint resources and combined market power to push prices up at any time in any segment of the industry. Far from it.”

On the legal side, it was felt that guidance would be helpful on assessment of shipping pools under EC Competition Rules. Depending on the qualification of shipping pools under these rules, an assessment of shipping pools needs to be carried out either under Article 81 (1) or Article 81 (3). Shipping pools could also qualify for application of the specialisation Block Exemption Regulation. In any event, if shipping pools would fall under Article 81 (3), the consultants confirmed that shipping pools would meet the cumulative requirements under this article and could therefore be maintained under EC Competition Rules. Furthermore, it was felt that specialised services could fall under the Liner Consortia Regulation, provided that the scope thereof would be enlarged. Finally, certain clauses in pool agreements, in particular non competition clauses, termination clauses and lay up clauses, need further examination under EC competition law (sic).

Following the open and constructive exchange of views with the Commission services, ECSA is confident that a realistic approach in the Guidelines will confirm a good working market system.






Industry advocates a workable system with added value for security

Discussions on security in the European Institutions still concentrate on advance cargo declaration and the status of an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).

The industry, including ECSA, has been involved in a number of consultation meetings and industry comments. Key points are clarification on who should file, particularly on the liability for filing of NVOCCs/forwarders doing their own notifications and the AEO status.

Joint industry submissions have been made to the Commission and Member States on the initiative of the World Shipping Council (WSC) and ECSA. The contributions of industry aimed at having an efficient security checking system avoiding thereby unnecessary bureaucracy.

On 19 December 2006 Regulation 1875/2006 laying down provisions for implementing the Customs Code (on security issues) was published in the Official Journal. The Regulation will take effect on 01/01/2008 (AEO status) and on 01/07/09 (Advance Cargo Declaration).

The exchange of views between the Commission, Member States and industry on Guidelines on the interpretation of the Customs Code Implementing Provisions is continuing. Hopefully this will result in workable rules with the maximum effect on security. In this respect it has to be reiterated that advance cargo declaration can only take place in an efficient way and with added value for security if it is done through an electronic exchange.


EU Member States had to adapt laws, regulations and administrative measures to comply with Directive 65/2005 on Port Security (whole port area) by 15 June 2007. The Commission has started discussions with Member States and stakeholders on best practice application of the Directive as well as of Regulation 725/2005 applying the ISPS code on ship and immediate ship/port interface security. The Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) is assisting the Commission and Member States in this respect. Results and possible suggestions are expected second half 2008. ECSA is involved in the exercise with other EU stakeholders.


100% Scanning unworkable

Developments on security measures in the US are closely followed in cooperation with the World Shipping Council. Stakeholders and the European Commission have expressed strong concerns about the possible introduction, by the US, of the requirement of 100 % scanning of containers. The industry hopes that such an unworkable intention will be withdrawn. The present system of advance cargo declaration linked to intelligence gives a sound basis for proper action on security.






Progress on safety related proposals

In June Member States reached political agreement on three out of the seven proposals of the 2005 Third Maritime Safety Package; notably, on a proposed amending Directive establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system, on a proposal for a Directive on Port State Control (PSC) and on a proposal for a Directive establishing fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector. This followed the adoption of the first reading reports on all seven proposals by the European Parliament some months earlier.

On the Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system Directive, the Council proposed to establish specific measures to enhance maritime safety in case of ice conditions, to establish the rules for the acceptance or refusal of ships in need of assistance in places of refuge and to enhance ship monitoring through the SafeSeaNet information exchange system. The issue of the independence of the authority designating the place of refuge has proved the most controversial point; ECSA has continued to press for the need for independent decision making in this regard.

On Port State Control, the Council agreed with the establishment of a new inspection regime to ensure better and more targeted inspections by Member States, particularly with regard to substandard vessels, whilst alleviating checks on quality vessels. Substandard ships will be, amongst others, evaluated in relation to the Flag State and access to Member States' ports may be indefinitely refused. The developments in the Paris Memorandum on PSC are reflected in the EU context, an approach welcomed by ECSA.

The proposed Directive on Accident Investigation establishes guidelines on technical investigations to be carried out following maritime casualties and incidents. The Council accepted mandatory investigations only in very serious cases, and the investigative body will decide whether or not a safety investigation of other marine casualty or incidents will be undertaken; the seriousness of the casualty or incident and the possible lessons to be learned will be taken into account.

Following formal adoption of its “Common Positions”, the Council will forward them to the European Parliament for a Second Reading in the framework of the Co-Decision procedure.

Other Safety related proposals

In March 2007, the European Parliament voted in Plenary on the proposed Directive on Flag State Compliance, supporting the Commission’s proposal whilst providing Member States with more flexibility as to how to implement IMO Conventions at national level in line with IMO. For the time being, the Council has abstained from discussing the proposal due to its controversial content in relation to the perceived encroachment into national competence.

In regard to the proposal relating tightening the rules on Classification Societies, the European Parliament supported the proposal for the establishment of an assessment committee to be responsible for monitoring the work and the quality of classification bodies.The EP also lowered the cumulated amount of fines and penalties imposed on companies found guilty of infringements to 5% of their total turnover. In relation to mutual recognition, they strike a balance by stating that mutual recognition should only take place in particular cases after the development of demanding and rigorous models as a reference. A 3 year review on progress made is also advocated.

Discussions in Council on the Commission’s proposals will continue under the Portuguese Presidency and into 2008.


In June 2007, the Council held a policy debate on the establishment of a regional European Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) data centre, with broad support being expressed. It requested the Commission to provide further detailed information on technical, legal and financing issues, in order to take a firm EU position prior to the meeting of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee in October 2007.


ECSA fully recognises the increasingly important role of EMSA in the areas of maritime safety and the environment; notably, it provides valuable technical support and advice to the European Commission and Member States in a number of key safety areas, and monitors the ways in which different Member States and organisations are monitored. Its additional operational task in the field of oil pollution response is equally significant.

The fact that the ECSA Board visited EMSA in June 2007 is an acknowledgment by European shipowners of its important contribution to safer and cleaner waters and of ECSA’s commitment to constructively working closely with EMSA in the future.






An unnecessary and counterproductive proposal

The controversial Commission proposal for a Directive on civil liability and financial guarantees for shipowners was issued in November 2005 as part of the Third Maritime Safety Package.

The draft Directive aims at incorporating the 1996 version of the international Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (1996 LLMC) into EC law and at introducing a regime of compulsory financial guarantees for shipowners, evidenced by a Member State certificate and notified when a ship is entering waters falling under the jurisdiction of Member States. Furthermore, the draft Directive aims at applying a more severe liability regime to ships flying the flag of a state that is not party to the 1996 LLMC, with “gross negligence” as conduct barring limitation.

The draft Directive was discussed in the European Parliament and an opinion was adopted in March 2007, supporting the Commission's approach. In addition, the European Parliament called upon Member States to ratify soonest the international Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS), the international Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (BOC) and the recently adopted international Convention on wreck removal.

The Council of Ministers has - time being - not yet started a discussion on the draft Directive, mainly because of its controversial content.

ECSA supports a ratification and incorporation into EC law of the 1996 LLMC and favours a regime of compulsory civil liability and financial guarantees for shipowners but in line with applicable international law. ECSA, however, strongly questions proposals such as the obligation to evidence financial guarantees by means of a Member State certificate and the deviation of the LLMC Convention undermining the international regime on liability and compensation.As the European Parliament, ECSA is a demanding party for a prompt ratification of the international conventions on hazardous and noxious spills (HNS) and on bunker oil spills (BOC).


The Commission proposal for a Regulation on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea and inland waterways in the event of accidents was issued in November 2005 as part of the Third Maritime Safety Package.

The draft Regulation lays down a Community regime of uniform liability for the carriage of passengers by sea and inland waterways and proposes to incorporate the provisions of the 2002 Athens Convention relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea into Community law. In addition, the draft Regulation also aims at applying the Athens Convention to domestic carriage by sea as well as to international and domestic carriage by inland waterways. Furthermore, it is proposed to provide specific compensation to disabled passengers in case of loss suffered to their mobility or medical equipment and to pay a sum in advance in the event of death of or personal injury to a passenger.

The European Parliament discussed the Commission proposal and adopted an opinion in April 2007, supporting the Commission's approach with certain restrictions, in particular regarding the scope of application of the draft Regulation and advance payment.

Discussions have also started in the Council of Ministers with two progress reports being adopted in December 2006 and June 2007. Council discussions are concentrated on the same issues as in the European Parliament, in particular the scope of application of the draft Regulation and the incorporation of the IMO scheme on carrier's liability for terrorist acts into Community law.

ECSA supports a ratification of the 2002 Athens Protocol by Member States and its incorporation into EC law but suggested some improvements to the proposed Regulation, such as on advance payment.


International Conventions to be ratified soonest

EU Member States were obliged to transpose Directive 2004/35/EC of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage into national law by 30 April 2007.
However, only few of them have done so within the requested timeframe.

The Directive establishes a framework of environmental liability based on the ‘polluter-pays' principle to prevent and remedy environmental damage. Environmental damage includes damage to water resources, natural habitats, animals and plants as well as contamination of land which causes significant harm to human health.

As regards shipping, the Directive provides that environmental damage caused by incidents covered by the international Conventions listed in Annex 4 is excluded provided that these conventions have entered into force. Furthermore, the Directive is without prejudice to the right of the operator to limit his liability in accordance with national legislation implementing the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC), 1976, including any future amendment to the Convention.

In practice, oil spills are covered by the international Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (CLC) and the international Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (IOPCF). Hazardous and noxious spills as well as bunker oil spills, on the contrary, will fall within the scope of Directive 2004/35/EC as long as the international Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS) and the international Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (BOC) have not entered into force. ECSA together with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is urging Member States to ratify these Conventions soonest.






Global solutions necessary if regional solutions to be avoided

The reduction of air emissions from ships has become a major focus of regulatory attention both in the international and European context, and it will no doubt continue to be so in the coming years.What is clear is that if significant measures are not taken through IMO in the near future, the EU will come forward with regional proposals. This would be very regrettable as it could well lead to a myriad of different rules around the world, to the detriment of the efficient ship operations, and the environment generally.


In relation to Sulphur all the EU bodies - Member States, Commission and European Parliament - are looking to the discussions in IMO on the revision of MARPOL ANNEX VI to come forward with measures to reduce air emissions by mid 2008.

Specifically, the Council Conclusions of June 2007 sought ambitious emission limits going significantly beyond current regulations and requested the Government/industry IMO Scientific Group established in July to consider, in a holistic approach, all the options on the table and to take into account all the possible side effects.

The options include reducing the current sulphur limit in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) from the current 1.5%, lowering the global cap, the creation of additional SECAs, the use of distillate fuel over time, the use of distillate fuels in defined coastal areas and the promotion of exhaust scrubbing technology. This approach of seriously examining all the options in such a manner is very much in line with the position taken both by ECSA and its sister organisation in the global context, ICS.

The Commission also wishes to see an international solution and it could well be that they consider that, for the shorter term, a reduction of the 1.5% in SECAs to at least 1%, together with the possible creation of additional SECAs around the EU, would be a minimum acceptable outcome. Anything less would certainly lead to the EU coming forward with their own proposals, and there is a clear mechanism for doing so as the 2005 Sulphur Directive is due for review in 2008.

The third player in Brussels is the European Parliament and they are almost certain to wish to go further than the Commission or Member States; as an indication, their Report for the Green Paper on a future Maritime Policy refers to lowering the sulphur limit in SECAs to 0.5%, to creation of Mediterranean and North East Atlantic SECAs, Nox and Sulphur taxes, shore side electricity and differentiated habour dues favouring vessels with low SOx and Nox Emissions.

The industry has advocated a goal based approach to emission reductions whereby emission limits are set according to environmental needs, thus leaving the market and technology to find appropriate solutions. A single solution and its mandatory application to all ships could only serve to stifle innovation; rather, means to achieve and exceed limits can be found by innovation and marketled solutions. What is vital is that any new regulations result in an overall net environmental benefit and ensure that solutions that may make a difference to the environmental footprint of shipping do not have a disproportionate and negative effect on the global environment.


In the climate change debate, shipping should be regarded as the best available solution to the global need for transportation, it being the most energy efficient form of transport and the backbone of global trade - it produces less greenhouse gases per tonne kilometre than any form of transport and carries some 90% of the world's goods by volume. (See graph on the right). Seen in the light of the enormous volume of goods carried by sea, the CO2 emissions from shipping is small, various independent sources estimating that it accounts for some 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.The reason for this is that for many decades shipping has had a strong market driven incentive to focus on reduction of fuel consumption, and the consistently high bunker prices will ensure that this will continue.

It is of course recognised that both in Europe and globally the key political issue is for action on climate change and, in the context of shipping, the industry is committed to playing its role in taking action to reduce its CO2 emissions. The debate on the most appropriate measures to
take in the maritime field is at a relatively early stage and ECSA is actively involved in a holistic consideration of all alternative options.

While in the maritime context, Member States and the Commission, as with ECSA, are also looking to IMO for global measures to the global issue of climate change, the Commission will almost certainly be pursuing EU initiatives in parallel. In particular, in early 2008 they will be undertaking a study on the options they consider most promising to reduce emissions. These are likely to include CO2 indexing, differentiated harbour dues, and emission trading. Moreover, it could well be that shipping (as with aviation) will be included in the European Emission Trading Scheme at some stage, and ECSA will be analysing the practical possibilities in cooperation with the Commission.


In May, the Commission published a Green Paper on Ship Recycling as part of its goal of developing an EU strategy on the issue, with a number of options being put forward for the consideration of stakeholders. The shipping industry will be responding in detail to the paper.

The industry, coordinated and led by the ICS, has long been involved in the international efforts to achieve the much needed improvement in the working and environmental standards in many of the recycling yards, mostly located in Asia. In particular, it is closely involved in the development of the new IMO Convention on Ship Recycling which addresses such legitimate concerns and which it is anticipated will be adopted in 2009. It is encouraging that the Commission acknowledges in the Green Paper that it is the adoption of this Convention which will have the single most beneficial impact on the problem and it is hoped that EU Member States, together with the Commission, will use their considerable political influence to ensure the timely adoption of the Convention.

It is recognised, however, that it will inevitably be some years before the Convention enters into force and the industry has consequently recently developed interim measures that should be taken by shipowners intending to sell ships for recycling. These involve, in particular, encouraging owners to select only those yards which have stated they are willing to undertake operations compatible with the measures, notably in relation to having ship recycling plans and to conducting gas-freeing in their operation. The measures inter alia also encourage shipowners to complete an inventory of hazardous materials and to inform their Flag Administration of the steps taken in accordance with the recommendations. Detailed guidance material is being developed to provide practical advice in relation to the interim measures.

ECSA has also advocated that the political/economic position of the EU and Commission is such that the priority action at the EU level should be conclusion of cooperation agreements/development aid arrangements with the countries concerned; through such mechanisms, financial and technical assistance can be provided to ensure that, in practical terms, the working and environmental standards are improved.






A unique Convention to be ratified soonest

Bringing together and updating more than 60 ILO instruments, the MLC uniquely covers on a global basis such areas as conditions of employment, working hours, accommodation, medical treatment, minimum age and recruitment. It is widely regarded as the ‘fourth pillar' of the international regulatory system following the SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL Conventions.

Initiated and fully supported by industry, the Convention now requires ratification of 30 states representing 33% of world tonnage for its entry into force. In the EU context, the Social Partners (ECSA and the European Transport Federation) have jointly urged Member States to ratify as soon as possible, and the Council Decision of June encouraging them to do by 2010 is to be welcomed.

In addition, at the time of adoption of the MLC, the Commission has indicated its clear wish that the Convention should as far as possible be transposed into EU law and invited ECSA and ETF to negotiate a Social Partners Agreement to this end, to be applied via a Council Directive. ECSA together with ETF has entered into such negotiations and, since October 2006, has been heavily and constructively involved in this process. In entering these talks, ECSA has been anxious to stress in particular that the MLC involves the establishment of global standards and that this should not be undermined by any substantive additional elements being introduced in the EU context.

To date, good progress has been made in the negotiations and ECSA is hopeful of a successful conclusion being reached by around the end of 2007.


ECSA fully recognises the importance of maintaining European maritime know-how. Such expertise is relevant and crucial not only for the shipping industry itself but for the entire maritime clusters, which in turn are vital to the economic and social interests of the Community. In this respect, it should be noted that most European maritime jobs are ashore, such as in: maritime administrations, ports, shipping offices, financial institutes, shipbuilding, production and development of maritime equipment, etc. Education and qualification should take the high quality requirements ashore into account.

The need to ensure that European shipping can continue to effectively and fairly compete in the global market must always be the cornerstone of the EU policy in this global labour market. Such an approach is fully consistent with the EU Lisbon Agenda.

Labour flexibility is a key element for shipping operating in a global competitive environment with a global labour market for seafarers. The alternative approach of promoting restrictive measures in an attempt to preserve the jobs of European seafarers would have the opposite effect to that intended. It would lead to lack of competitiveness, loss of markets, a shrinking of EU fleets and, inevitably, to loss of European jobs.

European shipping companies should also continue to be able to employ residents of other Member States reflecting the cost of living, taxes etc. in that other Member State. It is moreover important that European seafarers from Member States with lower costs of living are not deprived of their right to compete within the Community. This is a basic right for nationals of all EU Member States.

Many of the clusters have common concerns on skills. In some cases these are shared with land based industries - for example, the constant shortage of quality engineers. As with other parts of the maritime clusters, shipping needs to highlight to young people Europe's maritime heritage as well as the dynamic and forward looking characteristics of today's shipping industry.

Such challenges are being addressed, and a number of initiatives have been taken and should be enhanced, consistent with Transport Council Conclusions of December 2005 on maritime employment, such as:

  • Career planning in the maritime clusters: In this context, the social partners - ECSA/ETF - Career Mapping project should be helpful in demonstrating the possible career planning opportunities for European seafarers in order to make shipping an attractive career option. The concept should be promoted and used nationally. However, ship operators should not be charged with the full burden of training and the emphasis on shore-based opportunities provides a strong argument for advancing to 100% public funding of maritime training.

  • A stable and competitive environment for EU Shipping: The right approach should be to provide incentives through positive measures for the employment of EU seafarers through the State Aid Guidelines instead of imposing restrictions to the employment of non/EU personnel.

  • National Action Promoting a Seafaring Career: In different Member States promotion actions for a seafaring career have been launched. The results are there: in many Member States the number of candidates for the Maritime Academies have increased. This is particularly so in countries where the national merchant fleet has grown through a flexible application of the State Aid Guidelines.
    There is also scope for EU action. Further improving the awareness and the perception of shipping by appropriate campaigns, for instance by organising a European maritime Day, is an integral part of this process.





What is good for international trade is good for shipping

Operating in global markets means being dependent on developments in international trade, third countries' policies and operating conditions, a reason enough for closely following and where possible supporting trade negotiations by the EU in the WTO and on bilateral basis with third countries and regions.


The WTO negotiations as launched in November 2001 under the heading of the Doha Development Agenda should have been finalised end 2006. Maybe no-one expected this time-span to be realistic, but the suspension of the Round in July 2006 was certainly a disappointment to many who saw not only a potential for an increase in Global trade, but also the need for new rules adapted to changing balances in World trade. After a sparkle of new ambition in November, a global business coalition called for unison and emphasized that failure was not an option. While the benefits for an ambitious conclusion of the Round are great, a failed Round could lead to challenges to the WTO and a strong multilateral rules-based trade system; to increased regionalism and protectionism.

The G-4 Ministers (EU, US, India, Brazil) play a central role and repeatedly have stated their commitment to finding solutions, particularly on agriculture access and subsidies, for tariffs for manufactured goods, all proving to be the main stumbling blocks. Various high level meetings took place around the world and repeated and sometimes rather dramatic calls have been made to resume the negotiations, regrettably without a necessary breakthrough.


Although a new WTO agreement remains the priority, the European Commission launched consultations with EU stakeholders in external trade and in early 2007 came out with a report and recommendations for a new EU trade policy. In a pragmatic approach, the Commission recognised that regulatory restrictions “behind the border” have become increasingly important in determining the access to market. The new approach includes a much enhanced cooperation between Commission, Member States and business, also delegating more initiative to EU Market Access Teams in the third countries concerned. Also mentioned is the demand for a better involvement by industry in the negotiation process with third countries.

Having focussed much on the WTO negotiations, the EU risked being bypassed by many other countries in concluding free trade and regional agreements, setting EU trade interests at a disadvantage. Therefore, a new trade policy with parallel approaches is very welcome.


Negotiations on Free Trade Agreements have been launched first half 2007 with South Korea, India, the ASEAN, as well as on revisions of the Association Agreements with the ANDEAN and Central America. This is an ambitious and challenging task in which ECSA intends to offer maximum support by offering local knowledge and also identify obstacles to national treatment and efficient maritime transport services by EU operators.


The bilateral maritime agreement with China and the related annual implementation meetings continues to enhance mutual understanding and benefits. Negotiations with India on a similar bilateral maritime agreement started with much delay and are demanding more time on the detail, despite high level commitment. The delay is disappointing as, at least as a minimum, only a firm commitment to the de-facto already liberal operating conditions is sought.

ECSA looks forward to the materialising of the new EU trade policy as described and particularly also to the effective setting up of locally based EU Market Access Teams between the EU delegations, embassies and business representatives. In practice ECSA and member companies have had positive experiences with similar, ad-hoc, initiatives for solving issues. There are some concerns though that the initiative will remain restricted to a too small number of emerging economies only, while most EU Delegations and in developing countries also Member States' embassies are not well staffed for dealing with trade issues.

In the meantime ECSA will continue to cooperate closely with the Commission services and Member States on occurring problems and as appropriate also address these directly with third country authorities. The case has not yet presented itself, but ECSA certainly intends, when necessary, to call on the European authorities and the WTO for enforcing the standstill clause adopted at the end of the Uruguay Round's maritime negotiations in 1996. This clause binds all 150 WTO member countries.






Research & development stands as the basis for the continuous innovation of products, services, whole sectors and thereby the competitiveness of the economy as a whole. Reason enough for the EU to have placed intensified R&D efforts high under the Lisbon Strategy.

As identified and reported before, the many maritime related initiatives and projects at national and at EU level are not easy to follow, especially not the outcomes, the effectiveness and direct benefit to maritime transport. ECSA continues its efforts for enhancing the transparency for its membership, also for a better judgement on a beneficial engagement in R&D.

Meanwhile, respecting the responsibilities and competitive edges of individual companies, the benefit of addressing R&D in a broad maritime cluster approach has been recognised. In this context the Maritime Industries Forum's R&D group transformed in the Technology Platform Waterborne, with support of Commission and Member States is aimed at further focussing of common interests in innovation. It was gratifying to note that much of the content and priorities were taken over in the December 2006 launched 7th R&D Framework Programme.

The Commission sponsored four year Flagship project on safe maritime operations - with ECSA as coordinator - effectively started in January 2007, bringing together 49 partners from shipping companies and associations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers, classification societies, research institutes and universities.






On 1 January 2007 Bulgaria and Romania became members of the European Union and completed the sixth enlargement, increasing the EU membership to 27 Member States. Two new Commissioners have been appointed, Mrs Meglena Kuneva (Bulgaria) and Mr Leonard Orban (Romania) for the portfolios of Consumer Protection and Multilingualism respectively. The mandate of the two new Commissioners will expire at the same time as that of all other Commissioners, i.e. 31 October 2009.

On 8 November 2006 a Commission progress report was published on Turkey and all the other candidate and potential candidate countries. One of the main stumbling blocks in the progress report for Turkey remains the obligation to fully implement the Ankara Protocol. In this context the boycott against Cyprus shipping should be abolished, as requested repeatedly by the Commission and ECSA.

As it stands Croatia will probably be the 28th EU Member State as of 2010.Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are considered candidate countries with no specified timetable whereas Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia including Kosovo are potential candidate countries where formal negotiations have not begun.


On 25th March 2007 the EU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome at an informal Summit of Heads of State and Government in Berlin. On that occasion the so called “Berlin Declaration” was adopted. The declaration stated that “50 years after the signing of the Treaties of Rome, we are united in our aim of placing the European Union on a renewed common basis before the European Parliament elections in 2009”.

A road map for a new treaty was presented at the EU Summit on 21-23 June 2007.

The European Council agreed to replace the rejected European Constitution by a Reform Treaty. A draft version of the Reform Treaty is being prepared by an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in line with the terms of the mandate agreed upon by the European Council. The IGC should come forward with a draft Reform Treaty by the end of 2007 allowing Member States to ratify the Treaty text before the next elections of the European Parliament (June 2009).

In general, the content of the Reform Treaty will be much in line with that of the European Constitution, which was rejected following referenda in France and theNetherlands in 2005.

In short the Reform Treaty will include the following key principles:

  • The existing Treaties of the European Community and European Union will not be repealed but will be modified by the Reform Treaty.
  • The current “pillar” system, consisting of the Community Pillar and the Pillars relating to foreign affairs/defence and to cooperation on justice/home affairs will be replaced by one single European Union.
  • The European Union will become a legal person.
  • European legislation will continue to be based upon “Regulations”, “Directives” or "Decisions".
  • As of 1 November 2014, Council decisions will be adopted based on double majority, representing 55% of the Member States and 65% of the EU population. However, until 31 March 2017 a Member State may still request that Council decisions are based on a qualified majority.
  • Decisions with regard to police and judiciary matters will be taken on the basis of a qualified or double majority instead of unanimity. However, the UK will opt out of criminal matters and police co-operation.
  • The six-month rotating Council Presidency regime will be replaced by an EU President of the European Council, who will be elected by the EU leaders for a two-and-ahalf-year term.
  • A High Representative, assisted by a European External Action Service with national and European diplomats, will permanently chair ministerial meetings and serve as Vice-President of the European Commission. He/She will combine the jobs of the current High Representative and of the Commissioner of External Relations.
  • As from 2014, the European Commission will no longer consist of one Commissioner per Member State. Instead, the number of Commissioners will be reduced to two-third of the number of Member States. Commissioners will then be selected on the basis of a rotation system and serve five-year terms.
  • As of 2009, the European Parliament will consist of 750 Members.
  • The Reform Treaty will include a cross-reference to the Charter of Fundamental Rights making it thereby legally binding on European legislation. However, the UK has opted out of the Charter and Poland has made a unilateral declaration that the Charter will not affect the right of Member States to legislate in certain fields, such as family law.





On 6 March 2007, ECSA organised a seminar in the Residence Palace in Brussels, entitled “European Shipping a Global Industry Serving European and Global Trade”.The seminar aimed at explaining the global nature of shipping, including European shipping, and its importance to global trade as well as to the European economy.

More than 160 people attended, including Vice President/Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the German Presidency, Ministers and Secretaries of State from Member States, the Commission services and many stake holders. The seminar was considered a great success by ECSA President Mr Lennart Simonsson, who moderated the debate, and by participants.

All government speakers agreed that shipping is a global industry, which requires a global regulatory framework through IMO and ILO and not regional solutions. They also acknowledged the importance of European shipping for global and European trade. Furthermore, they expressed support for the Commission’s aim of treating the oceans and seas in a holistic way in the context of the Green Paper on a Future Maritime Policy for the EU.





The ECC has since its inception in 2004 felt that the European cruise sector can play a significant role in Europe but considered that a comprehensive analysis of the contribution of cruise tourism to Europe was first required. Undertaken by the ECC together with Euroyards and the cruise port associations, the results were published and launched at a Conference and Reception in February 2007. The following findings can be highlighted:

  • The cruise industry’s direct expenditure in Europe is €8.3 billion and expected to increase to €12.7 billion by 2010.
  • Europe is the world leader in cruise ship construction and refurbishment, with orders worth more than €18 billion up to 2010.
  • The cruise industry is major source of employment - up to a quarter of a million by 2010.
  • Cruising is a major source of inbound tourism. Over 2.8 million cruise passengers embarked on their cruises from European ports in 2005.
  • On average, passengers spent €100 each in every port visited on their cruise during 2005.
  • European travel agents were paid an estimated €500 million in commission from sales of cruises in 2005.
While clearly a significant economic sector and a major direct and indirect source of employment, it is notable that cruise lines view Europe as the market that offers the greatest potential for growth. It is in this context that the ECC has welcomed the Commission’s intention through its Green Paper to develop an integrated EU maritime policy. It is particularly encouraging that at the heart of the initiative is a recognition of the importance and potential of the EU maritime dimension and the need to promote the growth of sustainable tourism as a major economic driver in Europe.





Initiatives expected

Over the last year, the Commission has been undertaking a consultation exercise on the issue of maritime passenger rights in relation to both the ferry and cruise sectors. This follows legislation being enacted in other EU transport modes, notably aviation. The passenger rights issues under consideration include delays, cancellations, compensation, complaints procedures, information to passengers and the rights of persons of reduced mobility (PRM).

Both ECSA and the ECC have made comprehensive written and oral submissions and arranged for the Consultants/Commission to visit cruise and ferry vessels in this context. A Commission paper is expected in the autumn on what, if any, legislative or other initiative is in their view required; further discussions between the industry and Commission on the most appropriate way forward will no doubt follow.






The ECSA General Assembly held in Lisbon on 15 June appointed Mr Philippe Louis-Dreyfus as the new President for a period of two years, succeeding Mr Lennart Simonsson.

Mr Philippe Louis-Dreyfus holds a masters’ degree in economics and is the President of Louis Dreyfus Amateurs and Managing Director of Louis Dreyfus S.A.S. He has other different mandates, notably member of the supervisory board of Bureau Veritas, director of the UK P&I Club, vice president of Armateurs de France, director of the French Foreign Trade Council and director of the French Business Confederation.

The General Assembly also appointed Mr Marnix van Overklift, Chairman of the Seatrade Group of companies, as Vice President/President elect of ECSA for a period of two years.


ECSA welcomed the Bulgarian Shipowners Association as new ECSA member at the ECSA June 2007 Board and General Assembly meetings in Lisbon.


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Porti italiani:
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Augusta Gioia Tauro Salerno
Bari La Spezia Savona
Brindisi Livorno Taranto
Cagliari Napoli Trapani
Carrara Palermo Trieste
Civitavecchia Piombino Venezia
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››› Archivio
Exclusive: Malaysian tycoon weighs selling a stake in $2.7 bln port business -sources
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››› Archivio
FORUM dello Shipping
e della Logistica
Relazione del presidente Daniele Rossi
Napoli, 30 settembre 2020
››› Archivio
- Via Raffaele Paolucci 17r/19r - 16129 Genova - ITALIA
tel.: 010.2462122, fax: 010.2516768, e-mail
Partita iva: 03532950106
Registrazione Stampa 33/96 Tribunale di Genova
Direttore responsabile Bruno Bellio
Vietata la riproduzione, anche parziale, senza l'esplicito consenso dell'editore
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