The European Commission has an active policy to promote Short Sea Shipping. In 1999 it presented a Communication with a comprehensive approach to increase the use of the mode. Furthermore, the recent European Commission White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010 emphasised the role of Short Sea Shipping in maintaining an efficient transport system in Europe now and in the future.
Continuous political support from the Council, Member States and European Parliament is vital for Short Sea Shipping to capture its true market share. Such support was last confirmed in the informal meeting of the European Union Transport Ministers that took place in May/June 2002 in Gijón (Spain) and that was fully devoted to ways to promote Short Sea Shipping.
To make full use of Short Sea Shipping in Europe, it needs to be seamlessly integrated into logistics chains and offer door-to-door solutions to customers. Such logistics chains should be managed and commercialised by one-stop shops offering the customers a single contact point that takes responsibility for the whole intermodal chain. Further, the notion of competition between modes should be replaced by complementarity because co-operation between modes is vital in door-to-door chains involving more than one mode. This requires efforts from all parties but it is a clear win-win situation.
A number of obstacles still impede the further development of Short Sea Shipping. First, many commercial players still view... [continues]
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