EU Shipping Law
European Union law relating to freedom to supply services: international services; cabotage services; and shipping services generally
One of the fundamental1 principles of European Union (“EU”) law is that, as a general principle,2 nationals of each Member State are legally entitled to provide services to persons in all other Member States; while conversely, nationals in any Member State are generally entitled to receive services from persons in all other Member States. It is an entitlement which is of enormous significance in many areas of the economy including shipping. However, the general rules of EU law relating to freedom to provide services do not apply to maritime transport3 so a special regime had to be established for the transport sector. This regime is embodied primarily in Regulation 4055/864 and Regulation 3577/925 – the former deals with international maritime services while the latter deals with cabotage or domestic services. Services in ports are dealt with in the general EU regime relating to services but services between ports are dealt with by either Regulation 4055/86 or Regulation 3577/92. The principle of “freedom to provide services” has therefore been applied to the maritime transport sector by way of special secondary legislation but it does not differ too much from the general principles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”).