The proposed directive on market access to port services would introduce a framework for competition in provision of services within ports, covering cargo handling, passenger services and technical-nautical services, including pilotage. The UK fully supports the broad principles of liberalisation and competition in the provision of port services, subject to safety and standards being safeguarded. However, we have a number of concerns about the proposals, and we consider that amendments will be required in order to take account of the diversity and complexity of the ports industry.
The proposed directive is now under discussion in the Transport Council Working Group. We understand that the commission is planning to issue modified proposals. We shall consult fully with the ports industry, users, trades unions and other interests on them.