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ECASBA supports European Shipping Week

ECASBA is proud to join with other European shipping organisations in announcing European Shipping Week, a new event aimed at demonstrating to the European Parliament, Council, Commission, policy makers and other stakeholders the breadth, depth and value of Europe’s shipping industry.

The inaugural Shipping Week will take place in Brussels in February or March 2015 and as a member of the steering committee, ECASBA will be closely involved in the development of the common events, which will include a welcome reception, a high-level conference and a gala dinner. ECASBA, along with the other organisations represented on the steering committee, will also be organising its own event during the week.

A copy of the initial press release issued by the steering committee members and event organiser Shipping Innovation on 31st July is attached and further details of the event will follow in due course.


FONASBA Launches Education Course Database

The full range of courses for shore-based shipping professionals provided by FONASBA member associations are now publicly available for the first time via this website. This unique resource brings short summaries of all the courses together in one searchable database, allowing  students and others to sort the information using a number of criteria as well as view all entries if so required. The data in each course template is provided and maintained by the relevant association and so a link is provided to the association’s own website from where much more detail can be obtained.

The course can be directly accessed via this link www.fonasba.com/fonasba-education-and-training

A copy of the FONASBA press release announcing this latest education initiative can be found here: PRESS RELEASE – EDUCATION PAGES – MAY 2014

European Port User Group Addresses TRAN on Port Policy

On 21st January 2014, four of Europe’s main port user groups – ECSA, representing shipowners, CLECAT, freight forwarders,  ESC, shippers and ECASBA, ship agents and brokers – issued a joint letter calling on the European Parliament’s Transport Committee (TRAN) to ensure that the measures included in the European Commission’s fourth port package are not diluted by amendments to such an extent that the proposal is effectively neutered.

The four organisations said that the measures originally proposed were realistic, appropriate and addressed the main issues facing the European port industry. Furthermore, they said that by being rather less ambitious than its predecessors, this fourth attempt by the Commission to liberalise and open up the provision of services in ports stood a much better chance of being introduced. Doing so would bring about the changes urgently needed to ensure the European port industry was open, efficient and better able to support Europe’s economic development.

Since its publication, however, the provisions in the proposal have been subject to significant pressure from port and service provider groups who have both tabled a large number of amendments to the proposal in Parliament and also lobbied Member State governments.

The joint letter, however, calls on the TRAN Committee to resist pressure to water down the proposals.

A copy of the joint letter can be down loaded here: JOINT PORT USER GROUP LETTER TO TRAN – JAN 2014

FONASBA Publishes Lima Declaration

FONASBA officially launched its “Lima Declaration” at the 2013 Annual Meeting held in Lima, Peru. This document is an appeal to governments, regulators and the maritime industry to recognise the value of education, professional standards and quality service in the fields of ship agency and shipbroking across the globe.

Presenting the Declaration to the members, FONASBA President Marygrace Collins noted that the shipping industry as a whole is under pressure to enhance training and education as a result of increased regulation, both international and national. Ships and the cargoes they carry are becoming more complex and FONASBA is taking the opportunity to issue a reminder that the ship agency and ship broking professions are equally complex, demanding adequate and relevant training and education.

The Declaration is a call to the global ship agency and shipbroking profession to recognise the need to ensure that all employees, from front line agents and brokers to back-office support staff and at every level from trainee to senior management, are properly trained. With new legislation and regulations being introduced on a regular basis, and penalties for non-compliance often severe, being fully up to date is fundamental to providing the highest level of service to principals as well as ensuring full compliance with the law.

FONASBA acknowledges that there are various educational offerings available and hopes to promote broader recognition of same, which would in turn lead to increased participation. Last year, the Federation augmented its Board of Directors with the appointment of a Vice President for Education, Captain Jakov Karmelic, and the “Lima Declaration” has been spearheaded by him as part of the Federation’s drive to increase awareness of the wide range of high-quality education available within its own member associations.

The Lima Declaration is a further step in FONASBA’s campaign to promote the adoption of professional standards within the industry. It sits alongside and compliments both the FONASBA Quality Standard  and our new initiative seeking official recognition by national governments of the profession of ship agent.

A copy of the Lima Declaration can be downloaded here: LIMA DECLARATION 2013

2013 Laytime Definitions Published

FONASBA President Marygrace Collins has been working over the past year with colleagues from BIMCO, the Baltic Exchange and the Comite Maritime Internationale (CMI) to update the joint VOYLAYRULES document originally published in 1993 as a guide to interpreting words and phases relating to laytime. The revised document, now know as the Laytime Definitions of Charter Parties 2013, was approved at the BIMCO Documentary Committee Centenary meeting in Paris in May and has been published this week.
Concurrent with publication, the parties to the exercise have issued a joint press release, FONASBA’s version of which is available here. Also available for download is a copy of BIMCO’s Special Circular 8, which provides explanatory notes to, and the text of, the 2013 Definitions. Clearly this is a matter which is directly relevant to both our broking and agent members and we would therefore ask all associations to circulate the information to all their members.
The Definitions revision will also be the subject of a discussion during the Chartering & Documentary Committee plenary meeting at the Lima Annual Meeting, at which the Chairman of the BIMCO Documentary Committee, Karel Stes, will be present.

20th Association Accredited to FONASBA Quality Standard

In April 2013, FONASBA’s Executive Committee approved the draft criteria proposed for compliance with the FONASBA Quality Standard by APRAM, the Federation’s Moroccan association.

APRAM therefore becomes the 20th association accredited to the Quality Standard. A press statement issued by FONASBA to mark this significant milestone in the development of the Quality Standard as THE global standard for ship agents and ship brokers and a copy is available here.

Further information on the Quality Standard, the countries and companies covered by it and the minimum criteria required to be met by applicant associations can be found on this website here

20th Member Association Accredited to FONASBA Quality Standard

FONASBA’s Executive Committee this week approved the Quality Standard criteria proposed by its Moroccan member APRAM and so the association becomes the 20th to achieve the Standard. This is a significant milestone in adoption of the programme and one which was warmly welcomed by the entire membership. To mark this 20th accreditation, the attached press release (here) has today been issued by the Federation.

Recognised by BIMCO, Intercargo and INTERTANKO, the Standard is now accredited toFONASBA’s member associations in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain and the USA. Nearly 300 companies in those associations have now been approved under the programme The FONASBA Quality Standard has been awarded to independent agents operating in only one or two ports as well as those with country-wide networks.

FONASBA’s remaining member associations are being encouraged to adopt the Standard in order to allow ship owners and operators to utilise Quality Standard approved agents in as many ports as possible.

Ship Recycling Levy Threatens EU Maritime Trade

Proposals by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament to impose a levy on all ship calls at EU ports to fund sustainable ship recycling has been strongly opposed by a group of major European maritime sector organisations.

ECASBA joined with the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA), the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) the Federation of European Private Port Operators (FEPORT), the European Boatmen’s Association (EBA), the European Dredging Association (EuDA) and the European Tugowners Association (ETO) in signing a joint letter to the Parliament calling for the levy to be abandoned.

Whilst welcoming the European Commission’s plans (Reg. COM(2012)) to implement the measures incorporated in the 2009 Hong Kong Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, the associations fear that imposing an additional cost burden on European ports would adversely affect their competitiveness whilst at the same time penalising shipowners who have already invested in vessels that comply with the Hong Kong Convention. Furthermore, introducing the levy may result in the main ship recycling states failing to ratify the Convention.

As well as supporting the letter, a copy of which can be found here, ECASBA has also called on its members to raise the issue with their national administrations and also their MEPS.

Concerns Over Delays to Customs Integration Expressed to Parliament and Commission

ECASBA has expressed its concerns about the failure of the “trilogue” (the joint decision-making body comprising the European Commission, European Parliament and Council) to reach agreement on the way forward for European customs integration. The trilogue met on 11th April but ultimately decided to postpone any further discussion for at least another four months. This further delay to the progress of customs integration, which is vital to enable the European transport industry to operate effectively, is extremely disappointing.

ECASBA has therefore taken the opportunity to express its views to both the European Parliament, via its IMCO consumer affairs committee, and to the Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG-TAXUD). ECASBA’s twenty-one European Union member associations are also being asked to raise the issue directly with their own national administrations and their representatives in the European Parliament.

Copies of the letters are available here and here.

ECASBA Supports Retention of Guarantee Waivers and Level 2 Simplifications in Union Customs Code

ECASBA has supported moves by Finnish Customs, other EU Member State customs authorities and the Finnish Shipbrokers’ Association to ensure that the guarantee waivers and level 2 simplifications available to EU ship agents under the Modernised Customs Code (MCC) are retained in the Union Customs Code (UCC) which is set to replace it.

Although to UCC is only supposed to vary from the MCC in minor respects directly related to changes in Europe following introduction of the Lisbon Treaty, it has been revealed that a number of provisions of the MCC have either been modified or in some cases not carried over at all.

Loss of the guarantee waiver facility and the level 2 simplifications will significantly increase the financial liabilities and workload of European ship agents and ECASBA’s support for the campaign to ensure their retention was assured.

Chairman Antonio Belmar da Costa therefore wrote in March 2013 to the European Commissioners for Transport, Taxation and Customs Union, senior members of their Directorates General (DG-MOVE and DG-TAXUD) and the chairmen of the European Parliament’s influential Transport and Tourism and Consumer Affairs Committees (RETT and IMCO).  A copy of his letter can be found here.

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