The European Commission is proposing a new voluntary scheme to enhance the security of shipments by rail, road and inland waterways against potential terrorist threats.
Companies signing up to the scheme will need to bring their security performance across the entire supply chain in line with minimum European standards, the Commission announced on 28 February. In exchange, national authorities will grant them a “secure operator” status that will be valid throughout the whole of the EU for a period of three years.
Under the proposed measures, a “secure operator” will “enjoy fast track treatment at security checks both inside the EU (e.g. ports) and at external borders where customs are implementing new security rules”. This should mean less red tape for businesses, the Commission said.
“The new rules will make the European Union the first trading bloc in the world to add a full security dimension to all forms of freight transport,” said Jacques Barrot, the Commission Vice-President in charge of transport.
The standards will cover every operator in the supply chain and make each one responsible for its own security, including shippers, transport and forwarding companies, warehouses and storage facility operators.
The proposal is now being forwarded to Parliament and Council for approval. It does not cover the aviation and maritime transport sectors, which are already being dealt with by separate sets of rules.