On 16 January 2018 the European Commission presented this revision of the Port Reception Facilities Directive. It aims at combatting the littering of the marine environment through new rules on port reception facilities: Ship-generated waste shall remain on ships until it can be safely treated at land at adequate port reception facilities.
The opinion addresses the revision of the port reception facilities, which also includes measures to reduce the administrative burden on ports, ships and competent authorities and is intended to bring EC legislation into line with the applicable international norms which are set out in the MARPOL convention (the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) of the United Nations.
It highlights the system of indirect fees that ships need to pay, the concept of a "green ship" and the level of detail for waste management plans at ports or for clusters of regional ports as the key points of the European Commission's proposal to be discussed by COTER members.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- Welcomes the Commission's communication and strategy on the circular economy. Promoting public and corporate environmental awareness and implementing specific policies to reduce waste and to re-use products and materials will contribute to sustainable development.
- Emphasises that the challenge is now to create incentives to deliver waste to ports, without placing a disproportional financial burden on ships or introducing excessive administrative procedures.
- Notes the potential impact of the new directive on regional ports, particularly in the outermost regions and areas bordering on third country ports which will not be covered by the directive. By way of example, the cost of developing the necessary infrastructure, the payment of an obligatory fee and the mandatory delivery of waste will increase the administrative costs of ports, costs which will be passed on to users, thus affecting competitiveness, particularly in the case of regional ports.
- Points out that introducing a single fee would provide a major incentive for waste to be delivered. Notes, however, that no measures are taken to reduce the generation of waste at source, which is at odds with the "polluter pays" principle.
- Welcomes the intention to define the "green ship" concept as a step that could lead to a reduction of charges and is in line with the "polluter pays" principle.
- Calls for the introduction of a time-limit for the rapid completion of the digitalisation of the notification procedures and controls and the standardisation of the required documentation for all ports.
- Calls therefore on the Member States, as far as possible, to set up a single framework of penalties, in order to prevent both unfair competition and "port-shopping".