ECSA and WSC call for the revision of the Reporting Formalities Directive to improve the efficiency of maritime transport

Associations, European Union, Politics and Government, Ports & Terminals, Regulatory — By on March 14, 2018 at 3:40 PM

Martin Dorsman

The European Commission is expected to publish a proposal for a revision of the Reporting Formalities Directive (RFD) in early May 2018 that is intended to remedy the current costly, unharmonised and burdensome reporting requirements facing ships calling at EU ports. Current complex, repetitive and duplicative reporting requirements not only result in productivity losses for maritime carriers and their customers but also create unnecessary workload and stress for ship crews. A genuine “European Single Window” is required that will enable the same data to be submitted in the same way for the same operations and processes in all EU ports. European shipowners (ECSA) and World Shipping Council (WSC) call on the EU Institutions to propose, agree and implement a new European reporting formalities framework that benefits maritime carriers and the wider EU economy. This should be based on the following principles:

  1. The adoption of a ‘harmonised maximum list’ of data reporting requirements for cargo and vessels that is valid in every EU port

Presently the data reporting requirements for vessels and cargo differ between EU States and even between ports in the same country. This must be remedied with the adoption of a maximum harmonised data set to meet the applicable reporting requirements. Data elements must be properly assessed and deleted if not essential. It is equally vital to harmonise the format and structure of the messages used to send these data elements so that the data can be resubmitted and re-used across the EU.

  1. Facilitate Trade through A True European Maritime Single Window (EMSW)

A single EU interface to fulfil all reporting requirements is of clear interest to maritime carriers. There must be full agreement and legal guarantees from all relevant EU and national authorities that such filings, including declarations lodged by maritime carriers pursuant to the Union Customs Code, would be accepted via an EMSW. This would require an unprecedented level of integration between relevant national and EU level authorities, IT systems and processes.

  1. The right framework for the submission, exchange and reuse of data

Key principles that should be incorporated into the new system include the ‘reporting once’ principle, single access point, data sharing and digitalization. These principles are the main tools for reducing the administrative burden for maritime carriers for complying with reporting requirements. The efficient use and reuse of data is key to the efficient flow of  B2A (business to authorities) data that will in turn  improve the working of the whole logistics chain and  boost the competiveness and use of environmentally friendly shipping routes in Europe.

About ECSA and WSC:

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) was founded in 1965 and represents the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway. The European shipowners control 40% of the global commercial fleet, contribute 140 billion to the EU GDP and provide 2.1 million Europeans with careers both onboard and ashore. ECSA promotes the interests of European shipping so that the industry can best serve European and international trade in a competitive free business environment to the benefit of shippers and consumers.

The World Shipping Council (WSC) is a nonprofit trade association with offices in Brussels and Washington, D.C. representing the interests of the international liner shipping industry in public policy and regulatory matters. The WSC’s global membership accounts for more than ninety percent of global liner shipping capacity. Member companies transport annually more than 40 million TEUs of EU export and import cargo, roughly EUR 1.41 trillion worth of goods. The WSC is inscribed in the EU Registry of Interest Representatives (registration no. 3241657196871). Further information about the association can be found at

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