Policy options analysis
Central authorities at national and regional level play a major role in the workings of the economy. The nature and amount of intervention differs from country to country. However, it is recognised that even in a free market economy, some regulation and control are needed and controlled in the interests of efficiency, equity and growth.
The role of the ‘state’ in shipping and ports effectively concentrates on two main themes. Firstly the promotion of the shipping sector to create employment, and maintain a competitive market environment. Secondly, the protection of what can be termed ‘public’ goods which the markets tend to ignore. These public goods include maintenance of safety in shipping and ports, security for people and goods within the industry; and protection of the environment from the harmful effects of all types of pollution.
The objective of European e-Maritime initiative is to promote “coherent, transparent, efficient and simplified solutions in support of cooperation, interoperability and consistency between member States, sectors, business and systems involved in the European Transport System”. The e-maritime initiatives are therefore mostly concerned with increasing efficiency in that they are improving knowledge, ensuring adequate standards, and dealing with externalities.
The European Commission has already introduced a number of policy measures and initiatives which facilitate a move towards an e-Maritime Policy. Some of these initiatives are concerned with creating an environment which is conducive to e-Maritime systems, namely a common approach to policy and decision making and the reduction of barriers. Other direct policy is already exploring electronic systems, specifically in navigation and vessel tracking, the collection of maritime data, and customs documentation. Standardisation is often seen as a prerequisite for the development of regional policy and in particular when discussing e systems. However, e-Maritime is to a large degree about process improvements and standards alone would not be sufficient to make the necessary changes. It is suggested that although legislation and directives may help achieve the goals, active user buy-in should be a principal aim.
Policy options can be determined by examining the rationale behind intervention and the form that this may take on a general level. The specific characteristics of the maritime industry shape the present opportunities and threats in the policy making process. The various policy delivery mechanisms for e-Maritime policy are considered with reference to:
· Safety and security
· Increasing the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport industry by better administration
· Creating a better environment for ship operators
· Supporting the development of European Ports as key logistics hubs
· Improving seafaring and promoting the profession
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