More than a thousand ports of trade in the 27 EU countries can look forward to a streamlining of procedures under a new proposal by the European Commission. The plan is to boost employment and save money by cutting red tape for EU maritime transport.European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani said: “Times are changing, and the purpose is to apply existing rules for road transport to transport by sea. The aim is to increase activity in this sector, while improving efficiency and competitiveness – this contributing to improvements for the environment.” Customs procedures are to be simplified and inspections coordinated, reducing shipping companies’ administrative burdens. A barrier-free maritime transport area in Europe would also aim to reduce the volume of goods moved by road. Reporting formalities would also be harmonised for ships arriving in and departing from EU ports.