Pillar 2 - 14. Single window for maritime transport and transport e-documents

  • Katerina PALAMIOTI profile
    Katerina PALAMIOTI
    18 October 2016 - updated 1 year ago
    Total votes: 0

Establish a single window for reporting purposes in maritime transport and digitalise transport e-documents

Potential of action

By June 2015, all European Member States were required to have implemented a national single window, in order to simplify and facilitate the process of providing and sharing the necessary information to fulfil regulatory requirements for both authorities and the shipping industry. By fully implementing a single window for reporting purposes in maritime transport, transport players could introduce their information only once, and the data could then be made automatically available to all stakeholders with the appropriate access rights[1]. Ships should benefit from faster clearance and release times, enabling a faster turnaround in ports[2].

Digitalisation in transport and logistics is an important driver for efficiency, simplification, lowering costs, and the better use of our resources and infrastructures. Electronic data should flow seamlessly through supply chains including the exchange of data with public authorities and between businesses. The digitalisation of transport documents is an important step in this direction. Freight forwarders and transport operators would make significant savings on administrative costs related to the management of the documents. Studies estimate that such administrative cost savings could amount to EUR 20-27 billion over 2018-2020. The companies sending or receiving the goods also expect to draw benefits, as real-time information on shipment status would help them optimise stock management and related decision-making processes. Wider benefits, such as positive environmental impacts are also expected, with costs related to congestion expected to diminish by EUR 300 million over the same time period, and sheets of paper the equivalent of 180 – 900 thousand trees saved annually [3].

Description of action

Directive 2010/65 on Reporting Formalities (RFD) for ships that arrive in or depart from EU ports called for the establishment of National Single Windows (NSW) for the electronic submission of port call notifications by June 2015. The Directive specifies that information should only be requested once and shared at national level with all authorities involved in ship clearance, i.e. maritime, port, customs, border control, security, environment and health authorities. DG MOVE, together with EMSA, developed a prototype for receiving and sharing that data, based on the Single Window Implementation Guidelines[4] as defined together with the Commission expert group on administrative simplification and electronic information services (eMS group). An ex-post and REFIT evaluation was carried out 2016-2018, revealing that the objectives of the RFD had in fact not been fully achieved and that administrative burden on shipping operators remained high. In some cases, the reporting burden had in fact increased rather than decreased following the RFD implementation due to duplication of reporting. The main problems identified were: 1) lack of harmonisation, 2) limited scope and much reporting requested outside the current national single windows and 3) inefficient data re-use and data sharing.

Full harmonisation can only be achieved via the establishment of a genuine European single window. To this end, DG MOVE and DG TAXUD have launched, with the support of EMSA, the eManifest pilot project, including the development of an enhanced European single window prototype and a harmonised data subset. This demonstration project evaluates how the data required for the fulfilment of cargo formalities can be submitted along with the data required for the fulfilment of the other formalities requested by the RFD, the way data are submitted to national authorities, and what information can be shared with other Member States. The project assesses a technical solution for implementation and voluntary take up. The third and final test phase ended in Q3 2018 and the project was finalised in September 2018.

Following the evaluation and the first results of the eManifest pilot project, the Commission performed an impact assessment and adopted a proposal for a Regulation on establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment on 17 May 2018. The proposal sets out the provisions for a fully harmonised digital reporting environment with a harmonised reporting interface, a comprehensive harmonised data set for all ship reporting formalities (including cargo-related) and enabling and mandating more efficient data re-use and data sharing. On 7 February 2019, the legislators found an agreement on a compromise text, largely maintaining the provisions of the Commission’s proposal. The EP plenary has already endorsed the text, while Council is expected to do it in mid-June. The Regulation should enter into force at the end of July 2019. Documents related to transport and logistics in general are not (fully) digitalised yet. Moreover, digital documents are not always accepted by public authorities and Member States who still prefer paper versions for complying with regulatory requirements. The overall objective is to promote the digitalisation of modal transport documents and their acceptance by public authorities.

Following an early recommendation by the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF), a Commission expert group [5], the Commission undertook an impact assessment considering options for an EU policy initiative aimed at facilitating the electronic exchange of freight transport documents, and in particular between business and the public administrations for regulatory compliance purposes. This impact assessment informed Commission’s decision to adopt, on 17 May 2018, a proposal for a Regulation on Electronic freight transport information. The proposal firmly establishes the obligation of Member States’ enforcement authorities to accept electronic transport information when provided by the operators concerned by means of certified IT platforms. The proposal also establishes a set of requirements for these platforms and the potential service providers using such platforms, as well as a system of certification of these platforms and of the service providers [6].  

Main responsible at the European Commission: DG MOVE

Target date: 2018

Status: Completed (proposals adopted and now in OLP)

More info (website): http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/maritime/e-maritime_en; http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetail&groupID=3280&NewSearch=1&NewSearch=1;


[1] http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/maritime/studies/doc/safeseanet/2014-02-support-study-for-ia-on-vtmis.pdf

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/maritime/doc/2015-06-11-nswguidelines-final.pdf

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/10102/2018/EN/SWD-2018-183-F1-EN-MAIN-PART-1.PDF

[4] http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/maritime/doc/2015-06-11-nswguidelines-final.pdf

[5] http://ec.europa.eu/transport/media/events/event/commission-launches-forum-digital-transport-and-logistics_en; http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetail&groupID=3280&NewSearch=1&NewSearch=1

[6] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/search.html?qid=1528379566113&PROC_NUM=0140&DB_INTER_CODE_TYPE=OLP&type=advanced&PROC_ANN=2018&lang=en