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Industry Announcements

SEA Europe responds to ITF Maritime Subsidies report

Industry announcement: SEA Europe – the Shipyards’ and Maritime Equipment Association – has taken note with great interest of the findings and conclusions of the most recent study from the International Transport Forum (ITF) entitled “Maritime Subsidies: Do they provide value for money”.

According to this study, which was published on 17 September, “at least €3 billion per year is spent on just three maritime subsidies in OECD countries, i.e. tonnage taxes, tax exemptions for fuels for domestic shipping and fiscal measures to reduce wage costs of seafarers. Impact studies do not find much evidence of the effectiveness of maritime subsidies in achieving their stated aims”.

As regards shipbuilding, the study concludes that “Maritime subsidies might have increased the liquidity of shipping companies, allowing some of them to renew or expand their fleets. This has contributed to increased overcapacity, and ships have been pre-dominantly ordered in Asian
shipyards”.

SEA Europe recognizes that the Community Guidelines on State Aid for Maritime Transport have created significant (financial) benefits for European shipping. At the same time, SEA Europe notes the findings of the afore-mentioned ITF study that these Guidelines have not necessarily resulted in a return on investment for other European maritime segments, such as shipbuilding and maritime equipment manufacturing. Therefore, SEA Europe is of the view that it is in the interest of the European Union to adopt an adequate strategy with effective policies, programmes and tools that recognize the strategic importance of Europe’s maritime cluster as a whole and stimulate the competitiveness of the maritime cluster (including by means of R&D funds for green and smart shipping).

Christophe Tytgat, SEA Europe’s Secretary General said: “In the context of the forthcoming discussions on a LeaderSHIP Strategy and on a new Commission Communication on a European Maritime Transport Strategy, SEA Europe looks forward to discussing measures with European shipowners and other maritime stakeholders that will boost both the global competitiveness of European shipping and of the rest of the maritime cluster, including shipyards and maritime equipment industry.

“These discussions are also very important in a time when shipowners and maritime technology companies have important common challenges, such as climate change or the greening and digitalization of shipping, which require a close cooperation towards environmental and smart innovations, between all relevant maritime stakeholders. It is important that these discussions lead to concrete proposals, to be reflected in the forthcoming LeaderSHIP Strategy and in the European Maritime Transport
Strategy”.

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