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Blue Belt: Commission eases customs formalities for ships

ships in port

The Commission set out on 7 July plans to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive. Today, freight forwarders and exporters complain that if they chose to send goods across Europe by short sea shipping, 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 make the maritime sector less attractive compared to other forms of transport, especially road, unnecessarily bringing more trucks on our already congested roads. With today's new Commission proposals, shipping transport will face less administrative hurdles and therefore be able to be used to its full potential in the EU internal market and beyond.



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Aviation safety: Commission updates the European safety list of banned airlines

Air Ban logo

The European Commission updated on 10 July for the 21st time the European list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". Following improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines, Philippine Airlines is the first airline from this country allowed back into European skies since 2010. The same is true for the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which was banned in 2012. Progress was also noted in Libya but the Libyan authorities agreed that Libyan airlines would not be allowed to operate in Europe until they are fully recertified to the satisfaction of the European Union.


[The new list]

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SESAR: European Commission invests €600 million in new research to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace

Control room

The European Commission announced on 10 July €600 million of new funding to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The goal is to develop the new technology needed to deliver Europe's Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe's airspace, doubling capacity and halving air traffic management costs.



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Commission awards funding to 18 European sustainable mobility initiatives

Do The Right Mix logo

As part of its three-year Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign "Do The Right Mix", the European Commission released on 8 July the names of another 18 campaigner-led actions to be awarded funding. Each action will receive up to EUR 7000, which can be used to strengthen activities promoting sustainable urban mobility, from cycling courses, to car-sharing, fun activities for children and more.


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Speech: Easing customs formalities for shipping

From Vice-President Siim Kallas Commissioner for Transport

Europe is faced with major challenges in terms of rising congestion and pollution.

Shipping can provide a low cost, environmentally-friendly transport solution- taking more goods off Europe's congested roads.

But at the moment, only about a third of freight moving within the EU is carried by sea.

Almost 50% is carried by road.

Industry complain that they are forced to send goods by road, because a heavy administrative burden causes long delays in ports and makes shipping unattractive.

Ships can sometimes wait for hours or even days in ports for customs clearance.

We need to lighten this load.

Today, with my colleague Commissioner Šemeta we are proposing 2 key measures to ease customs formalities in ports.

  • For intra-EU shipping, we want to upgrade the procedures already in place to make them shorter and more flexible.
  • For ships that call also in third country ports, we want to separate EU and the non EU goods on board. This will significantly lighten the customs formalities needed.

In May this year, I presented a ports policy review - to improve port operations and onward transport connections at 319 key seaports along Europe’s coastline.

These customs measures are complementary and will further improve the efficiency of services Europe's ports.

We urgently need to put maritime transport on an equal footing with other forms of transport.

The days when lorries, or trains faced customs checks and controls as they moved within Europe's Single Market are long gone.

So it make no sense that today, a ship traveling from Antwerp to Rotterdam, has the same customs formalities as if it were coming from China.

Today, we are taking another step to making barriers to free movement of goods a thing of the past for shipping too.

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