There is an urgent need to upgrade customs procedures to boost European shipping, said Siim Kallas, vice-president of the European Commission in a speech on Monday.
“We urgently need to put maritime transport on an equal footing with other forms of transport.”
He proposed that as well as making current procedures shorter and more flexible, EU and the non EU goods should be separated for ships calling in non-EU ports, so as to minimise customs requirements.
“Today, we are taking another step to making barriers to free movement of goods a thing of the past for shipping too,” said Kallas.
He said that shipping can provide a low cost, environmentally-friendly transport solution- taking more goods off Europe’s congested roads.
However, at the moment, only about a third of freight moving within the EU is carried by sea. Almost 50 per cent is carried by road.