Simplification of port regulation proposal justifies re-inclusion of all services

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Patrick Verhoeven's pictureMembers of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament are considering substantial simplifications to the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports.

Based on amendments introduced by Rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D), procedures for limitation and selection of port service providers are notably bound to become much more straightforward.

“We welcome this approach. It is in everyone’s interest that procedures are as transparent and simple as possible”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven (pictured).

“With the proposed changes on the table, we see no reason whatsoever to maintain the current exemption of cargo handling and passenger services, let alone justify the additional exclusion of pilotage that is proposed by some MEPs. In the interest of legal certainty and the widely praised ‘level playing field’ we therefore encourage MEPs to go for an inclusive story.”

European ship owners nevertheless warn for additional restrictions that may be introduced under the guise of social protection.

“We support proposals that seek to improve the qualifications, safety and working conditions of employees. But we cannot accept attempts to force disproportional restrictions on new market entrants through unjust application of rules on transfer of undertakings,” said Lieselot Marinus, ECSA Director Shipping and Trade Policy.

MEPs will be discussing the 712 amendments that have been tabled on the proposal at the monthly meeting of the TRAN Committee this afternoon. Compromise amendments are under consideration and it is expected that TRAN will vote on the proposal in November. Member States already adopted a first opinion (General Approach) last year.