The European Commission has adopted a formal Opinion to clarify when the EU's ban on ozone-depleting substances applies to intermodal containers used in international transport. The Opinion is published today in the Official Journal of the EU.
International trade conventions require that the free movement of containers is not restricted. However, the EU's 2009 Ozone Regulation prohibits the import or export of equipment relying on ozone-depleting substances. Certain intermodal containers contain one such substance, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), in insulation foams or refrigeration equipment.
Recent media articles and a European Parliament question have pointed to uncertainty among stakeholders over how these rules fit together.
The Opinion clarifies that the EU import and export prohibitions apply, in general, to containers, but containers that enter or leave the EU under the 'temporary admission' customs procedure are not prohibited.
The Opinion also encourages Member States to enforce these bans by ensuring that containers admitted under this procedure respect the relevant requirements and are not subsequently placed on the market in the EU.