Modified Legal Framework and Opening of the Liner Shipping Market in the Republic of Croatia to Shipping Companies from the European Economic Area
Generally speaking, public transport is the transport of persons and cargo available for use to the general public, performed on the basis of a transport contract. Public transport costal liner shipping is the transport of passengers, cargo and vehicles in the internal marine waters and territorial sea ofthe Republic of Croatia performed on pre-established lines in compliance with the published terms and conditions of the sailing schedule and services pricelist. The Act on Transport in Liner Shipping and Occasional Costal Maritime Transport established the public transport system in the Republic of Croatia, ensuring regular connection of inhabited islands with the mainland and other inhabited islands, as well as between coastal towns, with an appropriate number of daily two-way connections, to improve the conditions of island life and stimulate their development. Prior to the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union, the maritime liner shipping market in the Republic of Croatia was reserved primarily for Croatian shipping companies. Now, following the expiry of the transitional period negotiated in pre-accession negotiations with the European Union and the expiry of previously concluded concession contracts, the market is opening up to shipping companies from the European Economic Area. Hence, over the last couple of years, the Republic of Croatia was required to modify its legal framework regulating this subject matter. This paper presents novelties in the legal framework introduced in 2016 and 2017, which directly affect the opening of the maritime liner shipping market in the Republic of Croatia to shipping companies from the European Economic Area, with the critical analysis of the new solutions.