Commission Launches Pilot Blue Belt Project
The European Commission launched a pilot project designed to reduce administrative burdens in shipping. Short sea shipping is an environmentally friendly way of transporting freight within the European Union, but complex procedures hamper its full development. These could be overcome by creating a "blue belt" for maritime transport in which ships could operate freely within the internal market, with a minimum of administrative burden, by using the latest technology to monitor maritime transport. Substantial work on the one-year pilot project will be carried out by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The project should help in assessing which services the European vessel traffic monitoring system – known as SafeSeaNet – can offer customs authorities to support their mission, while reducing the administrative burden on short sea shipping. SafeSeaNet will make it easier for authorities to distinguish between ships engaged exclusively in internal EU-trade and other ships, offering ships engaged exclusively in intra-EU trade a regime comparable to road haulage. The SafeSeaNet system monitors vessel movements and permits the exchange of vessel data between Member States.