Denmark must take lead on Reporting Formalities
By Henrik Beck, Danske Speditører (Danish Cargo Agents), Jakob Svane, Danske Havnevirksomheder (Danish Port Operators), Jesper Sebbelin, The Danish Shipbrokers’ Association, Jørn-Henrik Carstens, ITD (Association for the Danish Road Transport of Goods), Ove Holm, DTL (Danish Transport and Logistics), Rune Noack, Confederation of Danish Industry/Transport, Tine K. Pedersen, Danish Ports and Jacob K. Clasen, Danish Shipping
Denmark needs to speak with a strong voice in the upcoming political negotiations on the Reporting Formalities Directive and contribute to increasing the level of ambition. It is necessary in order for us to do something about the administrative burdens when calling a port in the EU. Everything else will go against the otherwise good ambitions of the European Commission and the Danish government to make maritime transport a more attractive option when transporting goods over long distances.
The EU Commission recently put forward a proposal for revision of the Reporting Formalities Directive, which sets the framework for the reporting obligations for port calls in the EU. As partners in the Danish Short Sea Promotion Centre we welcome the proposal, but at the same time we also emphasize that the legislative changes must be ambitious. It is important that the reporting obligations at EU ports are simplified significantly, which will make maritime transport a much better option when goods are to be transported.
The Commission estimates that the fully implemented proposal will lead to a modal shift, shifting freight to sea transport from primarily road, equivalent to 3.4 billion tonnes-kilometres in 2030. It will not only reduce the congestion challenges on the European road network, it will also trigger a CO2-reduction of 1.8 million tonnes CO2.
In the proposal, the Commission highlights several of the challenges that are current barriers to the transition from moving goods by road to doing it by sea. The Commission points out, inter alia, that the current legislation has not been able to harmonize data formats, procedures and reporting systems across ports in the EU. Another important element is the reuse of already reported data. In this respect, the current directive also fails. Transport by sea necessitates a number of documentation requirements, formats and places of reporting. By comparison, land transport across the EU can be implemented by issuing a single freight bill.
We are pleased that the politicians across Europa have realised the scope of the many problems caused by the national implementation of the current directive. Therefore it is important that the political negotiations do not lose momentum and Denmark and other likeminded countries dare to raise the level of ambition.
Therefore it is important that Denmark keeps up the pressure in the incoming political negotiations. Only an ambitious revision of the directive, which addresses the administrative burdens and the chaos of current myriads of data formats and systems can give the sought after boost for European short sea shipping and multimodal transport solutions in the EU.
The Danish authorities together with the Danish Maritime Authority have already taken the lead internationally in the work for an ambitious approach to reporting formalities. We support this, and we hope that the relevant Danish ministers will be proactive towards in the upcoming negotiations on this point.
An ambitious proposal will reduce administrative burdens for the benefit of maritime competitiveness, the climate and create progress towards the goal of reducing congestion on the road network. Therefore a clear Danish voice in the negotiations is crucial.