The European Commission has set out plans to ease customs formalities for ship but it’s as yet unclear as to how the changes are likely to affect EU ports.
Known as the Blue Belt, the proposals aim to create an area where ships can operate freely within the EU internal market with minimum administrative burden when it comes to safety, security, the environment and taxes.
Although free movement of goods is a basic freedom under EU law the Commission says that it’s not yet a reality for the maritime sector which needs to play more of a part in getting more trucks off congested roads.
Siim Kallas,Vice-President, European Commission, said: “We are proposing innovative tools to cut red tape and help make the shipping sector a more attractive alternative for customers looking to move goods around the EU.”
The new proposals will require amending the existing Customs Code Implementing Provisions (CCIP).
Under the new proposals Regular Shipping Services procedures will be made shorter and more flexible. The consultation period for Member States will be shortened from 45 days to 15 and companies will be able to apply in advance for an authorisation from countries they intend to do business with to save time.
The Commission also proposes putting in place a system which can distinguish EU goods on board a ship (which could be fast tracked through customs) from non-EU items, which would need to go through the appropriate customs procedures.
This new “e-Manifest” system would allow the shipping company to relay all goods information in advance to customs officials.
The Commission expects to make the Blue Belt proposal a reality by 2015. Source: PortStrategy.com