ESC applauds the approval of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade agreement (CETA) by the European Parliament on 15 February 2017. This agreement will reduce the red tape in international trade, make the procedures more agile, and, by mutual recognition of procedures, will open new possibilities to exporters and importers. If CETA enters into force it will also break the psychological barrier that prevents the EU from concluding trade agreements.
The House of Commons has allowed the British Government to launch the art. 50 procedure for leaving the EU. Although the Scottish Parliament rejected the plan with a vast majority, it has (regrettably) no formal say in this procedure.
Theresa May has also published a roadmap for leaving the EU. It seems from this program that Britain would like to reduce the present EU-membership to a Free Trade Agreement arrangement. For some sectors, this would mean a return to customs duties, for instance, for the agricultural sector. This development will have considerable consequences for the GDP in a lot of member-states as well as in the UK.
ESC will monitor the situation and support the Commission to reduce negative consequences for trade in the EU.
ESC is welcoming the “Road Transport Alliance” that was launched by nine European countries in Paris on 31 January. The EU Transport Ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden signed this agreement with the aim to combat unfair competition in road freight transport. Social dumping, sophisticated fraud, the misuse of internal market and labour law rules are some of the issues the countries want to work on.
The European Commission plans to publish a new law covering workers’ rights and break rules for drivers on the road in late spring.
The revision of Directive 92/106/EEC on the establishment of common rules for certain types of combined transport of goods between Member States is included in the European Commission Work Programme 2017. Ahead of this revision, the European Parliament’s committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) adopts an own-initiative report in January 2017. The report calls on the European Commission to promote multimodality as the cornerstone of the trans-European transport network’s implementation. Among other things, this report underlines the need for more investment in the European Transport System with logistics as a focal point, an urgent and more efficient integration of transport modes, and a better training and job conditions to attract new professionals.
The European Parliament’s own-initiative report is not legally binding. However, it is an important working tool and gives a strong signal to the Commission on the areas to improve in Directive 92/106/ECC on the combined transport of goods. The European Commission, in its turn, is required to take a position on this issue.
In January 2017, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) received 318 project proposals (€2.14 billion) for its Mobility for Growth and Automated Road Transport Calls. The total budget available for both calls is €266.2 million.
The selection of projects will be done by the end of April 2017. Successful projects will focus on the development of innovative transport solutions for road safety, on transport logistics and infrastructure, aviation, waterborne transport, green urban mobility, and on the research supporting policy making.
Consistently Optimized Resilient Secure Global Supply Chains (CORE) project has developed a tracking and tracing solution for its Demonstrator of the intermodal transport of dangerous goods. The solution is based on the use of satellite navigation technologies (EGNOS and Galileo) and provides the ground for many operational and relational improvements in business.
First, the CORE solution can improve the efficiency and safety of connecting products (dangerous goods) with the consumers who buy them while enabling the continuous control and monitoring of dangerous goods traffic, as well as providing data for a further analysis for incident prevention.
Secondly, the development of this CORE solution is based on the thorough analysis of the tracking and tracing solutions in use and the developments of the other European projects that use the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) to improve the quality of tracking and tracing of goods. (EGNOS is Europe’s regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that is used to advance the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs), such as GPS and Galileo). Capitalising on this heritage, the CORE project creates its solution by integrating multi-GNSS technologies based on the European systems EGNOS and Galileo, the Chinese system BEIDOU and the Russian system GLONASS.
Thirdly, the CORE demonstrator where this solution is validated (the intermodal road-rail transport of chemicals and gas shipped across Europe) contributes to the implementation of the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) in Europe, and specifically to the creation of value added services oriented to the transport of special goods and sensitive materials.
The EU sponsored R&D project CORE (Consistently Optimized REsilient Secure Global Supply-Chains) began in 2014 and will continue till 2018. For more information about the project, please consult: www.coreproject.eu.
Shipping consultancy Drewry predicts that even with the creation of the Ocean and THE alliances in 2017 there will be no big impact on the announced schedules, and a constant reduction of service frequency in North European ports may soon be over.
There has been a decrease of loops, e.g., 10 percent in the east-west trade. And with the average ship size increase of 4.3 percent, the alliances use this reduction of the number of loops to compensate partly for the overlap vessel capacity.
However, the situation is not playing in shippers’ interests and it does not benefit the other stakeholders in the supply chain. Clearly, increasing the size of ships to balance a decrease of calls in Europe creates peeks in ports, raises the level of congestion in hinterland, and undermines the optimal use of infrastructure and staff. Since the first round of consolidation in 2015, there has been fewer and fewer ports called, and fewer calls per port received. So, regrettably, new alliances can raise the total cost of a supply chain and make the status quo of low service quality prevail in 2017.