EU call to boost short sea shipping

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The European Commission has made it clear that it wants to see member states adopting unified modern electronic management systems to boost the development of short sea shipping.

At a shipping conference in Bulgaria, Christos Pipitsoulis of the Commission’s transport and energy directorate said there are several initiatives to bring to an end the old-fashioned reliance on paper original copies which prevails in many countries.

Pipitsoulis was responding to a call for the EU to force its member states to adopt new systems from Alberto Magrassi, an expert in shipping systems from IT firm Elsag Datamat and a member of the Commission’s PROPS2 consortium aimed at promoting short sea shipping.

The reliance on these paper systems was undermining the attempts of short sea shipping to compete with road and rail freight, he said.

“In many states it is still the requirement to present papers signed in triplicate to authorities – some countries like Italy have adopted unofficial systems but these are just shortcuts to presenting the papers in their original format a few days later,” he said.

“The European Commission should force member states to speed up the adoption of modern systems to have real support for short sea shipping.”

Pipitsoulis said it wasn’t easy to develop an agreed framework which could cope with all the problems of different administration practices, national languages, computer systems and information requirements, but the Commission’s attempts to find a solution were well-advanced.

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