Customs Reform: Europe's ports welcome Parliament’s support for restoring the 90 days temporary storage period
The European Parliament is currently discussing the Commission's proposal for a new EU Regulation on the Union Customs Code. While supporting the aims of the customs reform to significantly improve the efficiency of the customs procedures in the EU, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) shared a series of concerns over the file with the legislators.
For Europe’s ports, the main and first worry about the Commission’s proposal is a drastic reduction of the period for the temporary storage from the current 90 to 3 days. ESPO therefore very much welcomes several amendments of the Members of the European Parliament to restore the 90 days period, which now appears to be reflected in the compromises on the table in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee.
The 90 days temporary storage plays a crucial role in ensuring the fluidity of cargo flows through ports, in particular, when other parties in the logistics chain do not provide in a timely manner the data required to place goods under a customs procedure. Temporary storage is also crucial in the context of transhipment, i.e. the movement of containers to an intermediate destination where they are transhipped between two ocean-going vessels and then shipped to another (final) destination, including non-EU ports. In fact, the “temporary storage” status must be seen as a useful “administrative waiting room” either to get the necessary information/data or, in case of transhipment call to collect the cargo and/or wait for the vessel to continue the voyage to the end destination of the goods. A shortened temporary storage period would leave an unacceptable amount of goods without an adequate customs procedure forcing terminals & shipping lines to be responsible to put goods under a customs bonded procedure. For European ports, a shortening of the current temporary storage period, as initially proposed by the European Commission, is neither acceptable nor practicable.
“We very much appreciate the support of the rapporteur and other members of the European Parliament for the 90 days temporary storage period. Shortening this period would both hamper the fluidity of cargo flows through ports and would again put certain European ports in an unlevel playing field with their neighbouring non-EU ports. We hope that the Parliament continues to support this point and, at the later stage also the Council. This would allow us to give our full support to the proposal and its ambition to take the Customs Union to the next level. In the current geopolitical and geo-economic context, an effective functioning of the customs is more than ever important“, says the ESPO Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.
In addition, ESPO welcomes the recent adoption of the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on International Trade, which will also contribute to the strengthening of customs controls, the improvement of financial supervision, enhanced cooperation and a modernised, more unified governance across the EU.
Besides restoring the 90 days temporary storage period, ESPO is particularly supportive of amendments ensuring synergies between a new Customs Data Hub and the EU Maritime Single Window, clarifying minimum customs data requirements and ensuring legal continuity with regard to the implementation of the existing Union Customs Code.
ESPO remains open to further dialogue with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council in order to find workable solutions that contribute to trade facilitation and to an effective and uniform application of the EU customs legal framework.
For more information, please refer to the ESPO position paper.