On Wednesday, EU Transport Ministers adopted the Opatija Declaration on the future outlook of EU Waterborne Transport. It aims to provide guidelines for the EU Member States for the development of maritime policy by 2030.
ETF welcomes the attention given to some of the ongoing industry challenges. At the same time, there are several points that we believe merit further consideration and follow-up both of the EU Member States and the European Commission. These include the need for just transition, a human-centred approach to automation and digitalisation, additional measures to improve working conditions, promote safety and increase employment opportunities. Estelle Brentnall, ETF Head of Maritime, commented on the limitations of the declaration: “Not enough adequate and proper attention is given to the social and human aspects of adapting to digitalised and automated systems in the waterborne transport sector.”
ETF believes that creating smart, safe and sustainable waterborne transport services and operations will require high-skilled workers and high-quality jobs. Commitments by the EU Member States will need to be much more robust to make that a reality. “Strong and binding policies are needed“, affirms Estelle Brentnall, “to create a fair and sustainable maritime transport policy. Policymakers should not underestimate that creating smart, safe and sustainable waterborne transport services and operations will require high-skilled workers and high-quality jobs. People must be put first.”
ETF will continue to work closely with European stakeholders to ensure that the need for high-quality jobs is at the core of all discussions. If the European shipping industry is to be successful, it cannot lose focus when it comes to quality employment and decent working conditions.
You can download the ETF response here.