Global cooperation must remain an absolute priority of European shipping policy. That was the principal message of ECSA’s contribution to the Senior Maritime Forum of Marintec China, the largest maritime event in Asia, which is being held in Shanghai this week.
ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven was invited to attend the Senior Maritime Forum, to present the prospects and challenges of EU shipping policy as a case-study of regional policy-making for the global industry that shipping undoubtedly is.
“Although shipping has been firmly on the European agenda since the 1980s, the first genuine EU shipping strategy only dates back to 2009”, he said , “The European Commission is now reviewing that strategy. This not only presents a unique opportunity to give a new boost to the current policy framework, but also to raise more awareness of what shipping actually means for Europe. We are therefore very keen to contribute to the process, which we hope will reach fruition in 2017.”
The European shipping policy review covers a number of areas, including Europe’s role on the global shipping scene, revitalisation of short sea shipping, promotion of maritime careers, sustainability and innovation as well as maritime safety and security.
“Invigorating Europe’s role on the global scene is one of our main priorities”, said Patrick Verhoeven, “This is not only about ensuring the international competitiveness of our industry, but also about being a trusted partner in international fora such as the IMO and promoting access to shipping markets. The maritime agreement between China and the EU, the only one of its kind, is a perfect example of how Europe can collaborate with its maritime trade partners and we wish to see similar agreements established with other regions, in Asia, Latin America and Africa.”
This year’s Senior Maritime Forum paid considerable attention to the development of the 21st century Maritime Silk Route, China’s major international infrastructure strategy. “Connecting the new Maritime Silk Route with the Trans-European Transport Networks will give a new impetus to the historical trade relations between China and Europe”, concluded Patrick Verhoeven, “This means we have to step up investments in our port and hinterland infrastructure and establish reciprocal market access.“
ECSA will formally be presenting its proposals for the review of EU shipping policy to EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc on 8 December. The outcome of the review exercise is expected to be delivered in 2017. In March of that year, the second edition of European Shipping Week is scheduled, which was successfully held for the first time in Brussels this spring. The concrete dates will be announced as soon as the European Parliament’s calendar for 2017 is available.
The full presentation ECSA gave at Marintec China can be found here.