ECSA Supports Ministerial Declaration on Waterborne Transport

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has welcomed the Declaration on Waterborne Transport issued on March 11 at the High Level Maritime Ministerial Conference organized by the Croatian Presidency in Opatija.

Entitled “Towards a carbon-neutral, zero accidents, automated and competitive EU Waterborne Transport Sector” , the declaration highlights the challenges lying ahead for the industry while at the same time, shows support and understanding in the realization of the industry’s ambitions.

“The declaration clearly shows that the ministers place a huge importance on the competitiveness of the European shipping sector, in view of the vital and strategic role it plays in the EU economy, global trade and the common market,” Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General, commented.

At this point in time, the industry is already making important progress towards reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions. To reach the IMO’s 2050 GHG targets, however, more efforts are needed by all stakeholders while at the same time safeguarding the competitive position of EU shipping. In this respect, ECSA said it appreciates the statements on the importance of the work of the IMO and the policy response to the Green Deal.

A crucial element for the competitiveness of EU shipping are the EU State Aid Guidelines to Maritime Transport. The ministers recognize its value in creating the necessary conditions in which European shipping can increase its contributions to the EU economy. To combat unfair trade practices, the ministers have likewise stressed the need for more coordinated action to safeguard EU maritime interests, through Free Trade Agreements and maritime transport agreements with third countries.

“Maritime security is vital for global trade and economic development. The increased numbers of piracy and armed robbery incidents in West Africa demonstrate the increased danger for seafarers. ECSA agrees with the ministers’ statement on the problematic situation caused by piracy and armed robbery, and reiterates its call for urgent and coordinated EU action to ensure that vessels and crew can operate in a safe and secure environment,” Dorsman added.

“ECSA is pleased to read Member States’ commitment to a complete and timely implementation of the European Maritime Single Window Environment Regulation and looks forward to learning more about the development of a “Waterborne Digital Roadmap”, announced for 2021,” ECSA said.

ECSA also welcomed that transport ministers have reaffirmed the importance of the European Social Dialogue and have reflected the same objectives in ECSA’s proposed “Maritime Growth Plan on Sustainable Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness”. ECSA strongly believes that important steps forward will already be seen in this legislature if all stakeholders work in partnership to enhance the training, competitiveness and employment opportunities of EU seafarers and work towards an attractive, smart, safe, social and sustainable quality shipping.

ECSA further said that the trade association and all its members are keen to work more closely with Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament, together with its partners in the whole maritime cluster, to achieve the common goal of a “carbon-neutral, zero accidents, automated and competitive EU Waterborne Transport Sector“.

“We cannot do it alone. We can only do it together. With this declaration, the industry is reassured that it has the full support of all the Member States,”  Dorsman concluded.

ECSA promotes the interests of 20 members associations in the EU, the UK and Norway. European shipowners control 40% of the global commercial fleet and contribute EUR 147 billion to the EU’s GDP.