Brussels - A coalition of European shipping sector organisations, led by the European Community Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (ECASBA), has called on the European Parliament, Commission and Member States to honour the commitments to support short sea shipping that were made in the Athens Declaration. ECASBA General Manager Jonathan C. Williams, said in a joint letter that the Declaration included a clear and unequivocal call by transport ministers for concerted action by Europe to allow short sea shipping to exploit its full potential as the most efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transport. One year on however, the actions that require to be taken to allow the Declaration aims to be achieved, have still not been progressed, he added. The joint letter said that in spite of the Declaration commitments, inaction by some European institutions and Member State authorities continued to frustrate efforts to allow short sea shipping to compete with road and rail on a level playing field.
Inaction on reducing administrative burdens, restrictions on port and terminal development, the failure by competing modes to pay their full infrastructure cost and a lack of a functioning single market in shipping, combined with environmental impediments such as the imposition of the SECA in the North and Baltic Seas, were hampering efforts to utilise the considerable growth potential of short sea shipping, the letter further reads.. Williams said that the signatory associations were holding Europe to account on its commitments and wanted to see positive progress sooner rather than later. The Athens Declaration letter was jointly signed by ECASBA, CLECAT, ECSA, ESC, ESPO, the European Shortsea Network; ESN, FEPORT, INTERFERRY and major container lines via WSC.
(Source: Short Sea)