ESC contributes to the development of the European maritime framework bringing in shippers’ perspective. This comes through policy recommendations, ESC industry activities for benchmarking, and cooperation with partners in the maritime sector. We need a better monitoring of the current maritime scenario, a constructive dialogue, and a positive attitude. These will only improve the issues the sector is facing: opacity, service levels, routes, and frequencies; as well as the environmental challenge. ESC aims at transparency and fair competition amongst the stakeholders involved.
Container liners are fighting against overcapacity in the market. Alliances are one of the instruments they use facing this challenge. Potentially alliances can reduce choices in price, service level and sailings. The ESC should be alert in monitoring the developments and if necessary inform DG COMP.
The European Commission decided in 2014 to renew the EU Block exemption. The ESC regrets this step as this is not in the interest of the service levels. Formally, the first possibility to react on this decision is in 2018/2019. CLECAT and the ESC will gather information to clarify the impact to the market.
Port State Aid
One of the key goals of the EU is to create a level playing field and a single internal market. Individual measures of member-states in investments and in financing hinterland infrastructure can however disturb this level playing field. In order to restore this, a European framework for states and ports could be helpful. By starting an investigation into the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany could be a good start for such a process.
The sulphur directive is one of the measures taken by the EU to reduce the emissions, including SO2, NOx and CO2. Side effects of the measures could be higher fuel costs and the risk of a reverse modal shift. A further disadvantage is the regional character of the measures. This can potentially disrupt the level playing field. The ESC should promote voluntary measures and if possible include environmental KPI’s and monitor the financial and economic impact of the EU sulphur directive.
Weighing of Containers
Weighing of containers aims at bringing more safety and decrease the number of accidents at sea. Therefore, the actual obligation of weighing of containers should be restricted to mere safety reasons and not be taken as a new business opportunity to gain profit. We welcome information accuracy in any transport mode and, therefore, call for all the parties in the supply chain to take responsibility for the accuracy of information. We need to ensure that there are sufficient alternatives at hand to prevent physical weighing. ESC is closely observing how the regulation on weighing of containers is being implemented and what issues can still be addressed to provide a lightpath for all players.
Slow steaming is a new opportunity for moving towards a more sustainable maritime transport scenario. For ESC, it is important to understand the impact that slow steaming may have on cargo and for shippers. Participating in the current discussions with all parties involved in slow steaming, ESC is determined to search for and inform about the best possibilities that slow steaming can offer.