"In a sense, ship supply is more than a business. It has always been an activity based on trust, through which suppliers look after the necessities of the Master and crew and establish solid, sometimes lifelong, commercial relationships between shipping companies and port communities". Dr. Joe Borg, Member of the European Commission responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (2004 - 2009)
Today, more than 1,200 merchant ports dot the 70,000 km of the European coastline. Several hundred thousands ships call into these ports every year, ensuring 90% of the EU's international trade and around 40% of the freight exchanges between EU Member States. Hundreds of vessels call at European Ports each day and without Ship Supply these ships cannot operate. A Ship Chandler is a specialized supplier of everything that the ship, its crew and passengers may require during time spent at sea or in port. The ship supply company is like a supermarket, stocking thousands of technical and non-technical items, to meet the special requirements of different types of vessels and crews of many nationalities. In addition, the Ship supplier has to maintain detailed lists of manufacturers and depots in order to be able to obtain rare or unusual items at very short notice.
"Ship suppliers play an essential role [for maintaining maritime trade and shipping] enabling the whole system to work smoothly. Without them, the complex world of maritime logistics could not work, as they enable ships, of all sizes and characteristics, with very different schedules and requirements, to be ready for non-stop operation in all our ports. Ship suppliers today represent a growing sector which has contributed to the creation of added value and jobs in our ports". Dr. Joe Borg, Member of the European Commission responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (2004 - 2009)
Global services, economies of scale, efficient logistics systems and operations, prompt local service and unrivalled attention to customer needs are all key elements in the supply of parts and provisions to ships. The Ship Supplier must be ready to supply the entire needs of the ship any time of the day or night. A Ship Supply company is like a 24 hour supermarket, stocking thousands of technical and non-technical items, to meet the special requirements of different types of vessels and crews of many nationalities. Ships can only be loaded during the short period they are in harbour so time is of the essence. European ship supplying is a unique “just-in-time” business which encompasses many different transport modes in a myriad of different countries under special time and financial constraints.
Tax and Duty Free deliveries are a “conditio sine qua non” for international competition between Ship suppliers all over the world. In many countries, especially within the European Union, laws and regulations, in particular those governing customs, maritime and veterinary matters, as well as food and agricultural products, are very complicated. Compliance with these rules and regulations causes high administrative costs for ship supplying companies.
It is felt that in the Member States of the European Union, European regulations and directives combined with national law and rules, especially in the field of customs and taxation, hampers the flexibility which is essential to render quick service to ships, in particular those which may be in port for only a short while.
For a more competitive future the European Ship Supply industry needs:
• A clear, single and simple European customs and taxation regime.
• Concrete and meaningful trade facilitation measures for economic operators.
• Flexibility in the application of regulations to suit the circumstances under which the ship is being supplied.
Dr. Joe Borg, Member of the European Commission responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs "Developing shipping under an integrated Maritime Policy", 52nd ISSA Convention (International Ship Suppliers' Association)