EU stresses short sea shipping as top priority

The EU member states' transport and shipping ministers will, on a meeting in Athens today, Wednesday, evaluate the joint maritime strategy ahead of 2018, an agenda that features short sea shipping and piracy as key objectives.

A draft proposal up for a vote among the EU's shipping and transport ministers, who will meet in Athens on Wednesday under the Greek presidency, stresses that short sea shipping will play a bigger role in lieu of the goal of ensuring that 30 percent of all cargo transported over long distances on European roads are switched to other modes of transport ahead of 2030.

But this ambitious goal, originally adopted back in 2009 as part of the EU's combined maritime strategy ahead of 2018, could - according to carriers - turn into a difficult process, as costly environmental requirements, including the tightened sulphur regulations for ship fuel that will come into force on January 1 2015, will make it more expensive to use ships for transporting goods in the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Baltic Sea.

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