Statistics Explained

Glossary:Short sea shipping (SSS)

Short sea shipping, abbreviated as SSS, is the maritime transport of goods over relatively short distances, as opposed to the intercontinental cross-ocean deep sea shipping. In the context of European Union (EU) transport statistics it is defined as maritime transport of goods between ports in the EU (sometimes also including candidate countries and EFTA countries) on one hand, and ports situated in geographical Europe, on the Mediterranean and Black Seas on the other hand, i.e. ports in

  • EU maritime countries;
  • EEA maritime countries (Iceland and Norway);
  • candidate countries;
  • the Baltic Sea area (Russia);
  • the Mediterranean Sea area (Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, and Tunisia);
  • the Black Sea area (Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine).

This definition is derived from Commission Communication COM (1999) 317 final of June 1999 on the development of SSS in Europe (page 2). As a result, short sea shipping also includes feeder services: a short-sea network between ports with the objective of consolidating or redistributing freight to or from a deep sea service in one of these ports, the so-called hub port.

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