EC Bleu Belt Initiative published

on .

On 8 July 2013, the EC published its plans to ease custom formalities for ships

– reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive. The goals is to reduce the heavy administrative burden at ports causes additional costs and significant delays - ships can wait for hours and sometimes days in ports for customs clearance. These should make the maritime sector less attractive compared to other forms of transport, especially road, unnecessarily bringing more trucks on our already congested roads. 

The Communication cpontains two proposals:

The first proposal contains an improvement to the already existing Regular Shipping Services (RSS), which provide lighter customs procedures for shipping companies using a regular route within the EU and transporting mainly EU goods. New provisions, submitted by the Commission last June, will upgrade RSS to make the procedures shorter and more flexible. The consultation period for Member States will be shortened from 45 to 15 days. And companies will be able to apply in advance for an authorisation for Member States where they may want to do business. This would save time if that business opportunity arises. These provisions are expected to make the scheme much more attractive to short sea operators.

RSS is however limited to vessels that call exclusively at EU ports. Almost 90% of ships carry both EU and non-EU goods and stop frequently at EU and non-EU ports, for example in Norway, Northern Africa and Russia. For these ships, the Commission is proposing to significantly improve customs procedures by putting in place a system which can distinguish between EU and non-EU goods on board. For this purpose, the Commission will bring forward, before the end of 2013, a proposal to create a harmonised electronic cargo declaration. This ‘e-Manifest’ would allow a shipping company to provide in all manifests (intra-EU and extra-EU) information on the status of goods to customs officials.


To read the Communication click on