Points of discussion
The points of discussion listed below, grouped into subject areas, were drawn up based on the work performed by the work groups constituted by the joint declaration of Spain, France and Italy on the development of short sea shipping in Europe, signed in Livorno on February 15, 2002, with the participation of Portugal and the Netherlands. Likewise, these points of discussion include observations by delegates attending the senior-level meeting on short sea shipping held in Malaga on May 9 and 10, 2002, attended by the maritime administrations of the member states and the European Commission. This document may be used for the work of "focal points" on short sea shipping and other forums.
- Promoting international coordination between existing national and international business associations and organizations.
- Promoting technological development with viable results. Technological development focused on ways to handle goods to afford agility when changing modes of transport.
- Improving the specialization of port facilities for short sea shipping. Favoring specialization of berths, harbors and port facilities for short sea shipping, with the aim of making land and sea networks interoperable.
- Improving the land connections and accessibility of ports. Where possible, ports should have direct connections to high-capacity interurban networks by road, to railroad systems and to inland waterways (particularly to Trans-European Transport Networks).
- Promoting strategic alliances between intermodal operators that allow global management of the transport flow.
- Favoring business integration and cooperation and promoting simplification of hiring port services and their integration into a single, "door-to-door", intermodal transport service contract.
- Promoting specific European cabotage projects in collaboration with dockers and forwarders. Establishment of agreed service standards, best practices, plans for follow-up and certification of compliance, and operations and incident control. Development of performance standards and establishment of indices for perceiving user opinion, costs and quality control.
- Promoting interport coordination. The fact that there are at least two ports of origin and destination in short sea shipping, the greatest possible connection must be promoted between them, in order to coordinate the physical needs, interoperability with respect to common sea-land chain services, and also functional requirements for the correct implementation of services and avoiding duplication of customs and para-customs control and inspection operations, if these have not already been simplified to a minimum, so that the concentration of these operations along the sea-land transport chain is reduced to the utmost, and always without interrupting the flow of transport. None of these coordination actions should affect safety and protection.
- Training port workers at all levels. Development of training programs in the area of intermodal transport and short sea shipping, and of international worker exchange programs between companies providing different types of transport, and also professional training programs including lorry-drivers so that they can learn about the individual cases and circumstances surrounding the actions of the other modes, thus aiding interaction among operators.
- Promoting projects in the "Marco Polo" program. The proposal for this program as a support to intermodal transport initiatives is in the white paper on European transport policy. The application of this community program is aimed at supporting intermodal initiatives with a special emphasis on highlighting the advantages of short sea shipping. (This point also refers equally to the other subjects).
- Improving the efficiency of rail carriage of goods. Adopting measures of a legal and financial nature to improve the efficiency of rail carriage of goods and allow the appearance of intermodal operators (rail and sea).
- Increasing competitiveness (service quality and prices) in the ports and improving efficiency in the provision of port services. Ports must offer high-quality services for all users, including those related to short sea shipping, by providing competitive goods handling services, far from unnecessary or unjustified loading or restrictive practices that artificially increase costs. Adopting measures of a legal and financial nature to improve efficiency in providing port services, avoiding abusive or domineering practices and contributing to the reduction in the cost of passage of ships and goods through ports improving the competitiveness of the ports as essential nodes in intermodal transport chains.
- Studying a system of pricing for the use of infrastructures. The member states must support the development of a common methodology regarding the pricing for the use of infrastructures. This methodology is not currently available as a useful work instrument.
- Assessing the possibility of establishing experimental maritime transport corridors or links. The aim would be to discuss the possible appropriate conditions for the creation of experimental ro-ro corridors or links for short sea shipping, with the aim of easing road traffic. These conditions would be established with market criteria based on the participation of the private initiative; it could be temporarily incentivized with public support in this political strategy plan, for a limited time, as an aid to the start-up of the link and taking guidelines on state aid into account.
- Promoting European cabotage. The proposal is to continue supporting the work of the short sea shipping promotion centers on getting all the links in the transport chain to participate in "short sea shipping", providing information to all of the intervening logistical operators.
- Type of ships. Studying the optimal ship for short sea shipping and giving special consideration to the types for ro-ro cargo and for lo-lo cargo at high speed with the aim of achieving a high frequency of services.
- Controlling maritime traffic. Working at the heart of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and in the corresponding forums to promote a standardization of procedures and the use of maritime traffic management, control and information services and centers (vessel traffic services —VTS— and vessel traffic management and information services —VTMIS—) to facilitate vessel traffic in short sea shipping services.
This subject area proposes the items that are specified as follows, grouped into the following areas: an area for coordinating documents and procedures, an area for legal coordination, and an area for the implementation and use of new information and communications technologies in short sea shipping. It is recommended that the legal framework in this regard is based on the widest acceptance. On this subject, it is worth mentioning the work currently being done by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) regarding a global legal framework.
• AREA FOR COORDINATING DOCUMENTS AND PROCEDURES
1. Achieving coordination between the ports for regular established lines between two European Union ports, for ro-ro cargo and lo-lo cargo, in order to rationalize checks (customs, immigration, health, phytosanitary, port authority, sea safety and environmental protection).
• AREA FOR LEGAL COORDINATION
2. Promoting the necessary adaptation of legislation to produce coordination of the legal framework for the land transport and sea transport that allows promotion, among others, of the simplification of the hiring transport through a single, "door-to-door", intermodal transport service contract.
• AREA FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION AND USE OF NEW INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES IN SHORT SEA SHIPPING
3. Promoting the use of EDI (electronic data interchange) systems and internet solutions in ports to allow the provision of advance information to accelerate the physical formalities without compromising safety requirements.
4. Abolishing hard copy for document flows, in collaboration with customs ("e-custom" project), for which purpose the proposal is to identify ports that accept electronically transmitted manifests and visas, and to include them on a database. Gijón, June 1, 2002.