European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) President-elect Claes Berglund has called for a “political” solution to Turkey’s unilateral actions against Cypriot shipping which have been in place since 1987.
Asked on the restrictive measures Turkey has been imposing on Cypriot-flagged ships since 1987, Berglund said the association is a strong promoter of a rules-based multilateral trade system, governed by institutions such as the WTO.
“Unilateral actions that hamper the free flow of goods and services or target specific nations to prevent them performing transport services are condemned as strongly as possible by ECSA. Political solutions are strongly supported,” he stressed.
Berglund was in Cyprus for the AGM of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, which this year marked its 30th anniversary. Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, he suggested the EU contemplate concentrating dossiers concerning shipping under a new Commissioner responsible for shipping.
He also praised the CSC’s active contribution particularly on more strategic issues that concern European shipowners, adding that the CSC has been particularly instrumental in safeguarding the regulatory framework that ensures the competitiveness of European Shipping, especially the Commission’s Guidelines for State Aid on Maritime Transport, which allow European shipowners to compete on a global level.
“Europe urgently needs to have a strong vison on the European shipping industry, recognising it to be a strategic asset for Europe and act in a coordinated and unified way,” he said.
“Concentration of many of the shipping files now spread all over the services of the European Commission should be realised by the new President of the European Commission. Ideally a Commissioner for Shipping should become responsible for the EU shipping policy,” he added.
“It is without doubt that the current structure is suboptimal and makes EU maritime policy not as effective and efficient as should be,” he added.
On trade tensions, Berglund said trade wars have already had a negative effect on world economic growth and thereby on world trade, and a reduced economic and trade growth would impact European shipping as many of European shipowners are active in cross trades around the globe.