The European Commission has an active policy to promote Short Sea Shipping. This form of transport mode is highly efficient in terms of environmental performance and energy efficiency. It has the potential to solve road congestion problems affecting many parts of the European continent. All the studies point out the necessity of encouraging short sea shipping to meet the goal of the European sustainable transport policy.
The Commission has a strong promotion policy, supporting coordination centres for short sea shipping in all coastal EU Member States.
The Commission's programme contains a set of 14 actions subdivided into measures, and mentions the actors responsible and the timetable (2003-2010) for each measure [29 KB] .
The programme describes legislative, technical and operational initiatives which are aimed at developing Short Sea Shipping at EU, national, regional and industry levels.
In addition, the establishment of a "European maritime transport space without barriers" should help to boost short sea services in all maritime regions. This concept would ensure a reduction of the administrative formalities, in particular customs formalities that apply today to the intra-EU seaborne trades and that do not apply to similar road transport services.