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Freedom to provide maritime transport services

European Union (EU) shipowners increasingly have restrictions imposed on them by non-EU countries regarding the provision of maritime transport services for shippers established in an EU country, or in the non-EU countries concerned. This regulation therefore applies the principle of freedom to provide maritime transport services, setting out the conditions under which a person is free to provide such services between EU countries and between EU and non-EU countries in order to gradually abolish existing restrictions and prevent the introduction of new restrictions.

ACT

Council Regulation (EEC) No 4055/86 of 22 December 1986 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport between Member States and between Member States and third countries.

SUMMARY

The regulation entitles nationals of European Union (EU) countries to transport passengers or goods by sea from any port in an EU country to any port (or off-shore installation) either in another EU country or in a non-EU country. The regulation gives the same rights to non-EU shipping companies controlled by nationals of an EU country, if the ships fly the flag of that EU country.

The regulation defines "maritime transport service" as the carriage of goods and passengers by sea. .

When the regulation entered into force national restrictions reserving the transport of certain goods to vessels flying the national flag had to be removed.

Equally, cargo-sharing arrangements contained in bilateral agreements with non-EU countries had to be phased out or adjusted upon entering into force of the regulation. This kind of agreements has almost entirely disappeared.

If an EU country’s nationals or shipping companies experience or risk experiencing a situation where they do not have the opportunity to ply for trade to and from a particular non-EU country, the EU country concerned will inform the other EU countries and the Commission. The Council, acting on proposal from the Commission, will then have six months to decide on the necessary action.

The Council may extend this regulation’s provisions to non-EU nationals who provide maritime transport services and are established within the EU.

The regulation enables a person to temporarily provide maritime transport services in an EU country, under identical conditions to those that the particular EU country imposes on its own nationals.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 4055/86

1.1.1987

-

OJ L 378 of 31.12.1986

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EEC) No 3573/90

17.12.1990

-

OJ L 353 of 17.12.1990

RELATED ACTS

Council Regulation (EEC) No 4058/86 of 22 December 1986 concerning coordinated action to safeguard free access to cargoes in ocean trades [Official Journal L 378 of 31.12.1986]
This regulation applies when action by a non-EU country or by its agents restricts free access to the transport of liner cargoes, bulk cargoes or other cargoes by shipping companies of EU countries or by ships registered in an EU country. This regulation also provides for coordinated action by the EU following a request made by an EU country to the Commission. Such action might include diplomatic representation to non-EU countries and countermeasures directed at the shipping companies concerned. Similar coordinated action can be taken at the request of another country belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with which a reciprocal arrangement has been concluded.

Report from the Commission to the Council of 24 November 1992 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4055/86 of 22 December 1986 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport between Member States and between Member States and third countries [SEC(1992)2183 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 87/475/EEC of 17 September 1987 relating to maritime transport between Italy and Algeria [Official Journal L 272 of 25.9.1987].

Last updated: 18.05.2010
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