Brussels Security Code Aims for Fast-Track Shipping

BRUSSELS hopes proposals to improve security along the supply chain will benefit European exporters shipping merchandise to the US, writes Janet Porter.

US security controls are often applied 'in a haphazard and unpredictable manner' that disrupts international trade, said Wolfgang Elsner, head of the shortsea shipping and ports unit at the commission's transport directorate.

The department has drawn up a voluntary scheme for shippers, transport companies, forwarders and warehouse and storage companies, and which sets minimum requirements for physical security, access controls, procedural and personnel security, documentation processes, and training.

The goal is to set standards without inflicting excessive bureaucracy that would immobilise the transport systems, Mr Elsner told the conference.

With up to 600,000 transport operators of all types and sizes in Europe, Brussels could not impose a one-size fits all set of requirements that would force a local newspaper distributor to comply with the same rules as a global forwarder, he explained.

Requirements now on the drawing board follow two years of consultation with industry, and are now ready for political approval.

Mr Elsner told delegates that any objections to what was being proposed would only be listened to if accompanied by a good alternative suggestion. Brussels hopes a secure operator certified as complying with the EU code would receive fast track treatment around the world.

<<Lloyds List -- 05/02/06>>