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BLOG, Structural and Cohesion Policies

In Focus: European Shipping Week 2015

Written by Marketa Pape

Our focus this week is on shipping, with EU policy makers and stakeholders meeting in Brussels for EU Shipping Week. The shipping industry is a solid pillar of the EU economy, with almost 90% of EU external freight trade carried by sea, and short-sea shipping representing 40% of intra-EU exchanges in terms of ton-kilometers. EPRS has a number of publications available to help keep you up-to-date with the different economic, social, environmental and technological issues facing EU shipping:

In focus: European Shipping Week 2015

© torsakarin / Fotolia

Following up on two previous legislative packages on maritime safety, the EU adopted the Third Maritime Safety Package in 2009 improve the efficiency of existing rules and improve competitiveness. Our in-depth analysis of the Third Maritime Safety Package: Ex-Post Impact Assessment on the implementation and effects of the Third Maritime Safety Package compares the original objectives of this legislative package with the actual outcomes.

Alongside improving safety, shipping is also becoming greener. EU legislation has introduced stricter limits for sulphur emissions, which came into effect on 1 January 2015 for some EU waters, however there are some issues to consider when Cutting sulphur emissions from ships.

To counter the increasing volume of traffic on European motorways, the European Commission proposes we make better use of short sea shipping to transport more cargo by regular sea links. Find out how this idea is becoming reality in our At a glance note on Motorways of the Sea: the road is open.

European ports provide an interface for interaction between various shipping actors. For the whole sector to perform well, smooth functioning of port services is indispensable. While stakeholders agree that the current situation is far from optimal, their opinions differ as to how to improve it. Read the EPRS briefing Liberalisation of EU port services: state of play for an overview of the issues at stake.

In parallel, an EPRS analysis identifies areas where further EU legislative action is necessary to complete the single market in maritime transport. The Cost of Non-Europe in the Single Market for transport and tourism study quantifies the estimated net benefits of this completion for the whole European economy.

* See also the European Parliament Policy Department on Structural and Cohesion Policies study on this issue, prepared for the Committee on Transport and Tourism.

Would you like to read more on the EU shipping sector? EPRS staff monitor what think tanks and research institutes say and share the most interesting papers on the EPRS Policy Area Page on Transport. Just a few of the many resources we recommend are:

The economic value of the EU shipping industry / Oxford Economics, 2014

Port investment and container shipping markets / International Transport Forum, 2014

Thematic Research Summary (TRS) on Water Transport / DG MOVE, 2013


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