The Draft report of MEP Knut Fleckenstein, the rapporteur on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation on Market access to port services and financial transparency of ports was published on 8 November 2013 and will be discussed in the Transport & Tourism Committee (TRAN) of the European Parliament on 26 November.
The rapporteur proposes to exclude dredging entirely from the proposal and pilotage from the application from the market access chapter. Given the fact that cargo-handling and passenger services have already been excluded from the initial proposal, not many port services would remain under the scope of the proposed Regulation.
“I recall that the Commission referred to the ports regulation as a new chapter in a ‘port novel‘”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, and added: “It looks as if this chapter is more and more inspired by Agatha Christie’s ‘The Ten Little Indians’, also known under the title ‘And Then There Were None’. We fail to understand why costly port services such as cargo-handling, passenger handling and pilotage should be excluded from basic market access rules. The framework proposed by the Regulation does not go for blind liberalisation, but allows port authorities to carefully select service providers and set limitations if so required for safety reasons or public service obligations.”
ECSA welcomes the fact that the rapporteur accommodates the demands from both users and port authorities to provide room for commercial negotiations on port charges. Furthermore, the rapporteur suggests inhis proposal that a mechanism for complaint handling and dispute settlement should be in place, rather than focussing on a (new) independent supervisory body.
Press Release, November 13, 2013