By a regulation approved on 7th June 2017, the Italian Government implemented the (EU) Directive no. 2014/90/EU on seagoing equipment. The new regulation has the purpose to improve maritime safety, prevent marine pollution through the uniform application of international instruments relating to seagoing equipment (to be installed on board the vessels flying the flag of any EU Member State) and to ensure the free movement of such equipment within the Union. Moreover, the new Regulation establishes the Supervisory Authority to evaluate and deal with the risks arising from marine equipment on the market and on board European ships.
Bunker transfers between Italian companies in connection to ship bunkering, even in case an intermediary is involved, fall under the VAT exemption regime as provided by Article no. 8-bis, par. D), of the Italian VAT Decree, provided the performance of a commercial activity and the navigation on high seas (as specified in the Resolution no. 2/E issued on 12th January 2017 by the Italian Revenue Agency). As previously clarified by the Resolution no. 1/E (issued by the Italian Revenue Agency on 9th January 2017), the new EU Customs Code does not require anymore the adoption of the export procedure for ship supplies (Art. no. 269, par. 2, lett. C, EU Regulation no. 952/2013), thus preventing the possibility to apply for the export presumption as provided by the previous regulation, which referred to the exemption title as provided by Article no. 8, par. A), of the Italian VAT Decree.
BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council) and ISCO (the International Spill Control Organisation) have recently issued two standard contracts, RESPONSECON and US RESPONSECON. The two contracts, RESPONSECON (international version) and US RESPONSECON (United States version), are designed for spill incidents and enable those involved to obtain clean-up services and hire specialised personnel and equipment without delay. The contracts are framework agreements covering the essential elements of the parties’ relationship based on the contractor’s provision of equipment and personnel or even for hire of equipment only. Application of the contract is not limited to shipping incidents or ship-owners counterparties. Requesting Parties may include pipeline operators, oil companies, regional and national government authorities, and other entities that may have a requirement to initiate spill response. The terms and conditions are set out in standard clauses with accompanying annexes for the different parties to insert detailed descriptions of the required services and rates for personnel and equipment.
From 26th June 2017 to 1st July 2017, the “Genoa Shipping Week 2017″ will be held at Palazzo San Giorgio and Palazzo Ambrogio Di Negro in Genoa. From Tuesday 28th June 2017 to Friday 30th June 2017, the most important personalities of the main sectors of the maritime, logistics and port cluster will participate and, as speakers, will give several presentations on the main issues of shipping. Marco Lopez De Gonzalo, partner of Studio Legale Mordiglia, will attend the panel on “The role of investors for the development of port and logistics infrastructures“.
EU Commission extended to public funding in ports and airports the application of the 2014 General Block Exemption Regulation, which enables Member States to implement a wide range of State aid measures without prior Commission approval because they are unlikely to distort competition. This amendment aims to facilitate public investments in sectors (such as ports and airports) that can play a significant role for job creation and growth whilst preserving competition. As regards airports, Member States can now make public investments in regional airports handling up to 3 million passengers per year and cover operating costs of small airports handling up to 200 000 passengers per year. With reference to ports, Member States can now make public investments of up to Euro 150 million in sea ports and up to Euro 50 million in inland ports; moreover, public authorities are now to cover the costs of dredging in ports and access waterways.
The application of royalties to customs value is still subject to the extensive interpretation by Italian Customs despite the publication by the European Commission (TAXUD / B4 / (2016) 80878128 April 2016) of the Guidelines to the new Customs Code, that clarify the rules under which the royalty can or must be added to the price of imported goods.
The National Council of Freight Forwarders has recently issued a circular about customs voluntary disclosure that draws the attention to the possibility under the amended Art. 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 472/1997 to settle customs claims by paying the full duties and a 1/5 reduced fine.
On 11th May 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued an important judgment on the interpretation of Article 5 par.1, letter c) and 7 of (EC) Regulation n. 261/2004, which provides common rules on compensation and assistance to flight passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or extended delay. The Court held that passengers who are not informed about the cancellation of the flight at least two weeks before the scheduled departure time shall be entitled to a suitable compensation from the air carrier. Moreover, the Court held that the air carrier shall be liable for said compensation even if the omission of the notice to the passengers about the cancellation of the flight is attributable to its agent, who failed to notify the passengers of the cancellation despite the prompt information that he directly received from the air carrier.
On 24th March 2017, the EU Regulation no. 352/2017 will enter into force. The Regulation sets a new regulatory framework on port services supply and introduces common rules on financial transparency, port services fees and use of port infrastructures. By the adoption of the new Regulation, EU pursues the definition of clear, equal and non-discriminatory rules in order to promote a good business strategy and ensure the compliance of port investment plans with the rules on competition providing, where necessary, for the subsidiary intervention of the EU bodies pursuant to Art. 5 of the Treaty on the European Union.
By the judgment no. 02655 of 21st February 2017, the Regional Court of Lazio (TAR) repealed the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport’s provisions which assessed the road transport minimal costs on the basis of the same formula previously used by the Osservatorio sulle Attività di Autotrasporto. TAR refers to the important decision of the European Court of Justice issued on 4th September 2014, where the Court held that Art. no. 83-bis of the Italian Law Decree no. 112/2008 is contrary to the EU principle of free competition under Art. no. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of European Union, insofar as Art. 83-bis provided for the calculation of the road transport fares based on the minimal costs assessed by an entity (the Osservatorio sulle Attività di Autotrasporto) mainly composed of economic operators in the same industry.