Short Sea Shipping indicates the specific sea transport mode covering short-range distances, such as for instance, the routes connecting the Member States or their ports with non-EU States ports that are on the coastline delimiting the European seas.
Therefore, Short Sea Shipping concerns both local and international sea transport, and includes:
- coastline routes and connections with the islands (coasting navigation obliged and alternative)
- river and lake transport
- the traffic between the EU Member States and Norway, Iceland and the non-European Countries of the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea
- the sorting routes of ports that have interests in oceanic traffics (transshipment)
The Short Sea Shipping is a transport mode that can be considered both complementary and alternative to people and freight road transport. In both cases there are several benefits, among which:
- significant cost-saving
- reliability in terms of distance covered on time
- reduction of polluting emissions
The major European institutions have always taken under great consideration and remarked periodically the strategic importance of Short Sea Shipping within the policies of implementation of the European logistics and infrastructures network. As stated in the European Commission Declaration in 1999 and eventually affirmed also in the Declaration of Gijon in 2002 and in the Declaration of Athens in 2014, the European Ministers of Transport highlighted once again the crucial contribution of Short Sea Shipping, during the Council on June 5th 2014 for the mid-term revision of the European sea transport policy by 2018, to achieve the Europe 2020 objective aiming at a sustainable and environmental friendly transport policy.