Brussels, 30 March 2020

On the 30th of March 2020, the Renew Europe Group MEPs who are members of the TRAN Parliamentary Committee have sent a letter to Commissioners Valean and Vestager soliciting prompt actions to ensure the continuity of seaborne trade to, from and within the EU and to guarantee the health and safety of maritime transport workers.

Among others, the Renew MEPs are asking for a maritime rescue and recovery action plan and, in particular, calling on the two Commissioners to take the following initiatives:

On sea and inland ports:

  • to recognise the critical and essential role ports are playing in the supply of essential goods and equipment and give adequate support where needed;
  • to actively support all workers in the port, industry and logistics sector for their active contribution in overcoming this crisis;
  • to ensure that goods coming in and out European seaports can smoothly reach the hinterland through an effective implementation and monitoring of the “Green Lanes” and monitoring of the continuity of road, rail and inland waterway services;
  • to recognise the framework set up in European ports to protect the workers and critical staff in ports and ensure that ports can have access to the material needed to ensure this protection;
  • to effectively coordinate national crisis measures directed at ports and to give adequate support where needed, in order to maintain their roles and contributions, without imposing unnecessary restrictions causing disruptions to the supply chains, taking into account that ports function as external borders of EU Member States;
  • to ensure sufficient trucking/towing capacity, including drivers, in ports to guard against disruptions in the flow of essential goods, and to safeguard against congestion, in this regard rail-capacity and inland waterways can also be brought into use;
  • to ensure that sufficient personnel for port related operations is available by declaring not only port traffic management and shipping as vital processes, but also transhipment and hinterland transport (including but not limited to: nautical service providers, terminals, logistics (drivers, skippers), distribution centres and employees) in planning departments and Process Control;
  • furthermore, to ensure that the staff working in ports can access the port notwithstanding the confinement measures, and to give them priority in case they have to pass a border control.