Bruxelles - The European Commission has approved the prolongation until the end of 2023 of various Italian support measures for maritime transport under Italy’s International Registry scheme. Specifically, the scheme encourages shipping companies to register their ships in Europe and so ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards.
Italy has also committed to a number of changes to its scheme to avoid undue competition distortion as well as to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different European Economic Area (EEA) States. Under the abovementioned scheme, shipping companies are granted a corporate tax reduction and other benefits.
Following the changes to which Italy has committed, the special corporate tax reduction for shipping companies will be applied to shipping companies’:
- certain ancillary revenues that are closely connected to shipping activities (capped at a maximum of 50% of a ship’s operating revenues); revenues from towage and dredging, subject to certain conditions;
- and bareboat charter-out and time and/or voyage charter-in activities, subject to a number of conditions.
The Italian measure, as amended and approved under EU State aid rules on 11 June, requires that if a shipping company wants to benefit from the International Registry, at least a large part of its fleet flies the flag of an EU or EEA State. In this respect, the Italian authorities have committed to extend the benefits of the scheme to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag.
This will prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different EEA States and preserve internal market rules on freedom of establishment, according to the commission: “The scheme will contribute to the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport sector and encourage ship registration in Europe, while at the same time preserving Europe’s high social, environmental and safety standards and ensuring a level playing field,” the European Commission said.