EC reboots Reporting Formalities Directive

The European Commission is now rebooting its project to standardise and harmonise data in ships' reporting The European Commission is now rebooting its project to standardise and harmonise data in ships' reporting
Industry Database

Old habits and processes, resistance to change and a ‘turf war’ over the control of data flows all contributed to the failure of the European Commission’s drive for national Maritime Single Windows, delegates at the IPCSA conference in Brussels were told.

The European Commission is now rebooting its project to standardise and harmonise data in ships' reporting, said DG Move policy officer Jukka Savo.

The Reporting Formalities Directive (RFD) 2010/65 required all member states to have a national Single Window for electronic reporting in place by 2015. However, he said: “There is no EU level harmonisation. This objective wasn’t fulfilled. Paper is still used to some extent in more than 50% of ports, often as duplication. Reporting is fully harmonised only in some EU countries. Information is seldom shared and re-used, particularly between EU countries.”

The positive impact on the shipping industry of national Single Windows is small and sometimes the move has even been negative, said Mr Savo. “A true Single Window, with ‘submit only once’ reporting, is available only in some EU countries.”

Speaking at the International Port Community Systems Association’s conference on digitalisation, trade facilitation and effective border management, he said the reasons for the failure so far were sometimes very human and sometimes financial. They included old habits, processes and systems; the difficulty of accepting a new system; local regional or sectoral authorities or operators not wanting to give up their control of information flow or databases; a lack of binding technical standards; unclear definitions; and sometimes contradictory legal requirements such as data protection versus data sharing.

However, the Valletta Declaration asked the EC to revise the RFD. Public consultations have been held, an impact assessment report is due for completion in March, and a legislation proposal is expected in April or May 2018.

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