Following the discussion on the Green Paper 'on Seaports and Maritime Infrastructure' (see chapter 1), the European Commission formulated a proposal for a Directive ‘on Market Access to Port Services’ on 13 February 2001. The Port Services Directive was part of a communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 'on Reinforcing Quality Service in Seaports: a key for European Transport' (PDI-001).
The original proposal for the Directive contained rules of procedure to improve market access for port services. Per port service and per cargo category, at least two independent service providers should have access to the market. These service providers should be allowed to select and recruit their own staff. Shipping companies which hire their own staff and members of the ship’s crew should also be allowed to take part in servicing a vessel in a port, a provision which was referred to as ‘self-handling’.
Parliament and Council could not reach an agreement neither in first, nor in second reading of this proposal. Also the conciliation procedure failed. Subsequently the European Commission withdrew its proposal.
On 13 October 2004, the European Commission proposed a new draft Directive (PDI-002). Content-wise, the second proposal differed little from the first one. It did not take into account those areas on which Parliament and Council had previously reached consensus already. The proposal did not make it through first reading. At the plenary meeting of the European Parliament on 17 and 18 January 2006, the proposal was rejected. On 13 March 2006, the proposal was definitively withdrawn.
Following the second withdrawal, the European Commission organised an extensive consultation, which resulted in a Communication ‘on European Ports Policy’ that was published on 17 October 2007 (see chapter 5, “European Port Policy?? (EPP)).
Some relevant documents:
PDI-002: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on market access to port services (European Commission)
PDI-001: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on market access to port services (European Commission)