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 Full text 
Thursday, 18 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

European Maritime Single Window environment (debate)

  Deirdre Clune, Rapporteur. – Mr President, thank you to the Commissioner and my fellow shadow rapporteurs on the file. I think this has been a very positive file for all of us, there has been very good cooperation on this file, the Maritime Single Window, which aims to facilitate the shipping industry, to facilitate the movement of goods through European ports, to ensure that when a ship comes to a European port that there will be a harmonised set of data with which it will have to comply or provide.

Currently the situation is fractured and it is not easy. A ship coming to any individual European port, even in individual countries, may and does find today that they have a different set of requirements, additional requirements at some ports, so the idea is to facilitate trade, make it more efficient and harmonise the set of data that is required. It’s a simple path now, I would say. We’ve had cooperation from seaports, an opportunity to visit them – I certainly have myself – and to engage with them and to see what they have on the ground and some ports are at a very advanced stage and others are not so. But the idea is to bring every European port to the same level through a single Maritime Single Window.

As I said, we have had very good cooperation, in the trilogues as well, and I would just thank the Commissioner for her time at that and also the Romanian Presidency. It went very smoothly. One of the first meetings that I had in Parliament here, coincidentally, was with representatives from the shipping industry and, as I said, they outlined the burden and the challenges that they all face. So, for me it’s particularly pleasing to be able to deliver now something that is to their benefit and the wider trade facilitation.

We’ve just seen this week the start, hopefully, of trade negotiations with the US; with Canada has been signed in this term of this Parliament, and other trade deals as well – the Japanese trade deal – they all mean business for our ports and business for the shipping industry and ultimately for European business and European consumers. This has been real and positive for the shipping companies and for the ports, so it’s a win—win for everybody.

As I say, we are streamlining the systems and creating a Maritime Single Window with over two million port calls in the European Union every year. Some ports are still using paper and 1970s technology and this changes that. It will reduce the burden, first for the short—shipping, particularly, as well and improve its competitiveness which is very important. The harmonising reporting process will increase efficiency and it’s expected to reduce the administrative burden by up to 720 million by the year 2030 by cutting the reporting time in half, and that can only be a good thing.

There have been a number of particular issues that we have addressed and number one is to recognise that what’s existing at the ports already can be built upon. If, in some cases, there were additional data requirements and exceptional circumstances, that can be accommodated, but only for a limited period of time. Technology neutrality was part of our debate as well and we’re happy that that has been referred to on the base of the Window. And also a governance dimension, that was very important I think, and maybe my fellow shadow rapporteurs will speak on that as well, but the governance dimension was very important for us and for shipping companies as well, so that we knew if these changes were implemented who was responsible and how could it be tracked.

The agreement has, as I say, been very positive and I very much look forward to the next phase of this implementation and to seeing the results in terms of the reduction in bureaucracy, time spent by shipping companies, and ultimately facilitating the smooth movement of trade into and out of European ports.

Last updated: 8 July 2019Legal notice