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Freedom to provide services within the Member States (ocean trade)

The aim of this Regulation is to eliminate restrictions on the freedom to provide maritime transport services within Member States.

ACT

Council Regulation No 3577/92/EEC of 7 December 1992 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage) [Official Journal L 364 of 12.12.1992].

SUMMARY

This Regulation grants freedom to provide maritime transport services within a Member State (maritime cabotage) for Community shipowners operating ships registered in a Member State and flying the flag of that Member State, subject to these ships complying with all the conditions for carrying out cabotage within that Member State.

The Regulation defines "maritime transport services within a Member State (maritime cabotage)", "Community shipowners", "public service contract", "public service obligations", and "serious disturbance of the internal transport market".

Depending on the kind of transport service, matters relating to manning are the responsibility either of the Member State of registration or of the Member State in which the cabotage service is performed.

Member States may make the right to provide transport services subject to public service obligations in the interests of maintaining adequate cabotage services between the mainland and its islands and between the islands themselves.

Safeguard measures may be taken by the Commission where the internal market is seriously disrupted by the liberalization of cabotage. Such measures may include the temporary exclusion of the area concerned from the scope of the Regulation.

Persons providing maritime transport services may do so temporarily in the Member State in which the transport services operate on the same terms as those applied by the Member State in question to its own nationals.

Maritime cabotage was liberalized on 1 January 1993. In the case of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain mainland cabotage was gradually liberalized according to a specific timetable for each type of transport service. Mainland-island and inter-island cabotage for these countries was liberalized in 1999. This exemption was prolonged until 2004 for scheduled passenger and lighter services and services involving vessels of less than 650 gross tonnage in the case of Greece.

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 3577/921.1.1993-L 364 of 12.12.1992

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the interpretation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage) [COM(2003) 595 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision 93/125/EEC - Official Journal L 49, 27.02.1993
Commission Decision of 17 February 1993 on Spain's request for adoption by the Commission of safeguard measures under Article 5 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92 against applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage).

This Decision authorizes Spain to exclude the Spanish mainland, during six months from the date of notification of this Decision, from the scope of Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92. The exclusion does not apply to feeder services. If no Spanish vessel is available to meet the demand for cabotage transport services, other Member States' vessels will be allowed to offer such services.

Report - Not published in the Official Journal
Commission Report on the implementation of Regulation (EEC) 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States - 1993-1994 [COM(95)383 final].
This is the first report on implementation of Regulation 3577/92. It consists of three parts: a description of implementation of the Regulation by the Member States, an analysis of the effects of admission to the market of ships that do not meet the conditions for admittance to cabotage in the flag State and an overview of the cabotage fleets of the EFTA countries considering crew costs and participation in EU coastal traffic during the period 1993-94, when Sweden and Finland were still members of EFTA.

Report - Not published in the Official Journal
Commission Report for 1995-96 on the implementation of Regulation 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage), and on the economic and social impact of the liberalisation of island cabotage.
This is the second report on implementation of Regulation (EEC) 3577/92. It consists of four parts: an analysis of economic development in the cabotage industry compared with the period 1993-94, a study on the involvement of DIS and MAR ships in cabotage within the European Union and the question of extending Regulation 3577/92 to EEA countries, a comparison of crew costs and an analysis of the economic impact of liberalising of island cabotage.

Commission Report (2000) 99 final
The Commission report of 24 February 2000 on the implementation of Regulation 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime cabotage (1997 - 1998). This report covers the period 1997 to 1998. It deals with the legal and market developments in the EU Member States and EFTA States, with the extension of the Regulation to the EEA and with the comparative manning costs for cargo vessels.

Concerning the legal developments in the Member States under this Regulation, all the Member States' first registers have access to EU cabotage. The northern Member States had already fully liberalised their cabotage when the Regulation came into force. The southern Member States reserved domestic cabotage to the national flag. Therefore the Regulation provides for a gradual opening of the Southern Member States' cabotage markets. During the period 1997 - 1998, two cabotage segments were liberalised in the southern Member States: services involving the transport of strategic goods (oil, oil products, drinking water) and services by ships smaller than 650 gross tons.

The foreign flag share in the total cabotage trade of the southern Member States rose from 8.35 million tonnes in 1995 to 9.05 million tonnes in 1997. The participation of non-national EU carriers in the liberalised sector of the southern European cabotage on the basis of the Regulation decreased in relative terms from 9.4% of the liberalised cargoes in 1995 to 8.1% in 1997, but increased in terms of volume carried from 3 to 5.75 million tonnes.

Last updated: 15.05.2007
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