ECSA chairman: EU shortsea policy has failed

The role of shipping in Europe needs to be revitalized, writes the European Community Shipowners' Association, proposing a new Short Sea 2.0 strategy. "The market share of shortsea shipping has stagnated," says the association's chairman, Niels Smedegaard, CEO of DFDS.

Photo: DFDS

The EU's protracted efforts to increase the market share of shipping in the transport between European ports - shortsea shipping - have been far from successful in spite of various initiatives from Brussels. Shipping's market share has not just stagnated, it has downright declined in recent years compared to other modes of transport, such as trucks and railroad. Meanwhile, the carriers face numerous legal as well as administrative requirements which will worsen the competitiveness of shipping, warns the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA), which is currently chaired by DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard.

"Despite many good initiatives, a number of long-standing problems have not been resolved. (...) We believe the EU and the short sea industry alike stand to benefit from the launch of a so-called Short Sea 2.0 policy. Moving goods and people by sea around Europe instead of using other modes will decongest land-based transport networks, ease pressure on logistics chains, and dramatically reduce air emissions," said Niels Smedegaard at a recent meeting in Amsterdam, organized by the Dutch Presidency of the Council, where ECSA presented a new proposal in the hopes of revitalizing shortsea shipping in Europe.

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