Short-Sea-Shipping remains a key area for dealing with Europe’s traffic congestion and environmental problems.
Short Sea Shipping involves the maritime transport of freight, within Europe and with Europe’s close neighbours, and it is one of the most successful transport modes in the EU, performing 39% of all tonne-kilometres in Europe, against 44% for road transport.
In its Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 2003 Programme for the Promotion of Short Sea Shipping, adopted on 13 July 2006, the Commission requests that work on “motorways of the sea” be accelerated so that the first ones can become operational by 2010. Three projects have already been approved for financing under the transport Trans-European Network programme and it is hoped they will alleviate major land bottlenecks in the European transport system.
Another remaining challenge for short-sea-shipping will be for it to effectively integrate into today’s efficient inter-modal logistics supply chains, a priority outlined in the June 2006 Mid-Term Review of the Transport White Paper (see EURACTIV 22 June 2006). This would enable goods to be delivered using the most efficient combination of transport modes, but it requires that the different modes (rail, road, maritime and inland waterways) be easily inter-operable.
The Commission plans to further address this issue in an Action Plan for Freight Transport Logistics to be presented in 2007 (see EURACTIV 29 June 2006).