Brussels, Belgium, 05.01.2018, 21:51 Uhr

Jean-Luc Meriaux

OCEAN in 2018!

What's in store

Mr. Meriaux, the Secretary General of OCEAN's Brussels Office looks into the future and discusses what is on the horizon for OCEAN in 2018.

 2018 will be a busy year for OCEAN – the European Ship Suppliers Organisation. And, while OCEAN and its members will work very hard, there is always lots to celebrate! This year sees the 50-year celebration of the EU Customs Union! While one Member State desperately wants to leave the Customs Union, the remaining 27 celebrate its success: The EU Customs Union is unique with its uniform system of harmonised tariff and customs and the management of 28 national customs services acting as one. There is common EU customs legislation allowing all goods – including our ship stores – to freely circulate across the entire Union. This saves time and money for ship suppliers and allows for diverting goods to vessels calling any Union Harbour.

We also celebrate the first ever Bulgarian EU Presidency this year. The OCEAN Board took the occasion, for the first time, to meet in Sofia, on Friday, 27th April 2018. We are proud of our members, the Българската Асоциация на Корабните Снабдители, the Bulgarian Ship Suppliers Association, and look forward to an exciting meeting.

However, challenges for OCEAN are also on the horizon! While harmonised customs rules are the intention and the end-goal, the way to get there is still to be discovered. EU Member States have created national ship supply rules which cause some headaches to our members. National Single Windows seem to contradict the idea of a one-stop-shop and special procedures and processes, existing only in one Member State and not in the other, distort a genuine EU Single Market which works for the ship supply industry as a whole.

Brexit is yet another challenge, with 2018 hopefully bringing much needed clarity on the future relationship and any transitional period. There are other legislative developments, which will be progressing this year, from the recast to the EU Dual Use Regulation to the Reporting formalities for ships (European Maritime Single Window environment).

The agenda is full, but members are energised and ready to work. All aboard! Welcome to 2018!