- ANNEX 3
- SHIPPING IN ECSA
- At the annual general meeting of the Royal Belgian Shipowners'
Association Nicolas Saverys was pleased to announce that 2006 was
another vintage year for global shipping in general and for Belgian
shipping in particular. The fleet has nearly doubled in the last two
years, the shipowners create (European) employment and added value,
Belgium is on the white list, the delay in the ratification of
international treaties is nearly resolved, the Maritime Academy is
thriving and there are a few nice projects in the pipeline; in short
Belgian shipping policy is a success.
- In 2006 Belgium rose for the 2nd time in the rankings and this
time by 4 places. It is now 17th in the world ranking with 203
seagoing ships (merchant, dredgers and seagoing tugs) with a total
tonnage of 11.559 million dwt. In 2003, just before the flagging-in,
the total tonnage was 6.176 million dwt and Belgium was ranked 24th.
On top, 94% of the Belgian fleet sails under national - mainly
European - flags. Only a small part of the Belgian controlled fleet
is registered in an open register, namely 0,7 million dwt (6.1%).
51% of the Belgian fleet flies the Belgian flag.
- More importantly, Belgium conforms in full to the European
maritime policy that encourages the flagging-in in national
registers as a means of achieving more transparency in the
ownership; it also makes European Member States responsible again
for the labour conditions and employment on board ships, as well as
for the technical quality of the shipping and inherent in that the
of the marine environment. The Belgian government itself is
responsible for checking its fleet. In the course of 2006 very
important working agreements were made with the classification
societies to this end. Currently, Belgium only recognizes
classification societies who are a member of IACS.
- A Commission for the Revision of the Maritime Law was set up
which has to embrace the revision of the public maritime legislation
(immunity of state ships, registration of sea ships, regulations
concerning ship measurement and security, shipping inspection
regulations, disciplinary and punishment statute book, maritime
shipping regulations etc.)
- On Belgian flag vessels all EU residents are registered in the
Belgian merchant navy Pool and subject of Belgian pay and working
conditions. In the last quarter of 2006 the number of seafarers
registered in this Pool increased with 9,27% compared to the
1.1.2004.At the end of 2006 512 students were registered at the
Maritime Academy. This is twice the number registered in the
2000/2001 academic year.
- Just like all other sectors, the maritime sector in Belgium has
to deal with the problem of an ageing workforce. Very soon there
will be a huge number of merchant shipping officers reaching
retirement age. It is of paramount importance that provision is made
to replace these people.
- That's why the maritime sector does everything in its power to
spread the news to young people about the advantages of a maritime
career. In 2006-2007 :
- the website www.areyouwaterproof.be was updated
adverts were placed in several young people's magazines (135.000
leaflets, 5.000 posters)
presence at various fairs
a promo team visited several events where young people were present
an interactive educational computer animation on cd was produced
(2.000 copies) and distributed free of charge.
- The Bulgarian Shipowners Association (BSA) was established in
December 2003. The composition of members' fleet include container
vessels, bulk carriers, general cargo/multipurpose, Ro-Ro (including
rail ferries, but no Ro-Ro passengers), chemical tankers, product
tankers, miscellaneous vessels (tugs, training sail vessel, oil
recovery/ cleaning vessels, supply vessels, etc.).
- The main task of the association as an NGO of
shipowners/shipmanagers is to consolidate its members position on
substantial issues related to national and international
developments in shipping; also, to promote their position through
public-private partnership in the process of change in national
legislation and practice after Bulgaria's accession to the EU. The
association is also looked at as a forum of the emerging Bulgarian
private employers - shipowners and their representative - in the
tripartite social dialogue.
- As of August 2005, BSA took over from the state shipping company
Navibulgar the membership of Bulgaria in ICS and ISF, thus
recognizing the association as a legitimate representative of all
Bulgarian shipowners. It was this capacity of BSA, which permitted a
representative of BSA to participate in the adoption of the MLC 2006
in February 2006 in Geneva as a delegate of the employer's quota in
the Bulgarian tripartite delegation.
- The BSA was co-organiser of the first European tripartite
seminar on the promotion of the MLC in September 2006 in Varna. The
Seminar was the first event of this kind, which took place after the
94th session of the International Labour Organization.
- The goal of the meeting was to achieve a global and effective
application of an international instrument, covering all norms and
standards in the field of the maritime labour law.
High-representatives of ILO, EC, EMSA, ISF, ITF, as well as
representatives of twelve EU Member States took part in the forum.
Special attention is now paid to the GAP analysis and preparation of
legislative package to support the ratification of the MLC by
Bulgaria, and BSA is officially involved in the process. In March
2007 we participated in the social dialogue meeting between ECSA and
ETF in Brussels on the implementation of MLC.
- The BSA is trying through the tripartite social dialogue on the
national level, and specially at the Ministry of Transport, to
persuade the government to introduce number of measures from the EU
Guidelines on State Aid in Maritime Transport; the practice in a
number of EU Member States shows that this would be the most
efficient way of promulgating and strengthening the development of
shipping activities in Bulgaria, including increasing the quality of
the national flag. Although a tonnage tax system was introduced two
years ago in Bulgaria, it is not used by the private shipowners, and
other measures are necessary aimed at reducing the labour costs and
permitting the use of foreign citizens on board Bulgarian flag
vessels, which is currently forbidden by the law.
- As a general statement, the fiscal framework and administrative
practices currently are not attractive enough for a private
shipowner/manager to base its commercial and strategic management in
- We look at our new membership in ECSA as a positive development
and a chance to exchange know-how and to cooperate with other
members in achieving growth and sustainability in maritime transport
- Cyprus constitutes the 3rd largest shipping fleet in the EU, and
is considered to be the largest third-party shipmanagement centre in
Europe.The contribution of Shipping to the Economy of Cyprus is
calculated at 4% of the Gross Domestic Product. Latest national
statistical figures indicate that income from the Maritime Transport
Sector in 2006 reached approximately 1 billion Euros. Another
important contribution of the Cyprus Shipping Industry is that it
has created many employment opportunities for Cypriots. The total
number of gainfully employed persons by Cyprus shipping ashore is
approximately 4,000 and 25,000 seafarers are employed onboard Cyprus
flag ships at any one time.
- The main efforts of Cyprus are presently focused on the
continuous improvement of the existing infrastructure, the
incentives available to both residents and non-residents and the
enhancement of the international reputation of the Cyprus flag as a
- Special emphasis is given to further improving the speed and
efficiency with which the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping is
providing services.Towards that end, the Department utilises the
latest computer and telecommunications technology.The hours of work
of the Department have been extended and urgent matters may be dealt
with after office hours. Overseas offices both in Europe and in the
U.S.A. can also offer their services whenever they are requested.
- Additionally the network of inspectors of Cyprus ships has been
further improved with the organisation of a training course for all
inspectors in Cyprus, with EU funding. During the last few years,
Cyprus adopted a series of measures aiming at the upgrading and the
modernisation of Cyprus Shipping through a safety policy which
focused on the effective control of the ships and the improvement of
the quality of its fleet. Particular attention was also given to the
qualifications of the seafarers employed on Cyprus ships as well as
to their conditions of living and working.
- This policy and the relevant measures proved to be successful
and the objective of moving to the White List of the Paris
Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control was achieved in
- During October 2006, Cyprus participated voluntarily in an Audit
Scheme undertaken by the IMO. The completion of the Audit revealed
that the Department of Merchant Shipping has substantially complied
with the IMO Assembly principles established under A. 974(24) and
with the Code for the implementation of the mandatory IMO
instruments A.973 (24). The respective scheme portrays the Cyprus
image as the only open registry having achieved this and as the
second country worldwide being voluntarily audited. The Department
of Merchant Shipping already has in place a complete system for
adopting and implementing the IMO´s Conventions and therefore
the IMO Audit Scheme is viewed as a means of identifying weaknesses
for the purpose of refining and perfecting the system.
- The smooth development and operation of Cyprus Shipping is still
hampered by the Turkish trade restrictions against Cyprus flag
ships, which were introduced in 1987. Since Cyprus accession to the
EU, these restrictions demonstrate that the illegal and
discriminatory practice followed by the Turkish Authorities not only
affect Cyprus, but also the interests of the EU. The efforts to lift
this illegal trade ban which adversely affect EU shipping will
- Of course, as representatives of the private sector of the
shipping industry, the Joint Cyprus Shipowners' Association
carefully monitors and assists the efforts undertaken by the
government in order to efficiently upgrade and promote Cyprus flag
and Cyprus shipping.
- In that respect, on 19 June 2006, the Cyprus Union of Shipowners
held a well attended conference where important personalities like
Ministers, Ambassadors, Members of the Parliament, Politicians, etc.
discussed the main challenges that Cyprus shipping is facing which
resulted to tightening the cooperation between the Shipowners and
the relevant Ministry of Communications and Works during the current
- Furthermore, during the conference CUS reaffirmed its position
for the establishment of a Cyprus Chamber of Shipping since
countries such as Greece have proved the importance of a Chamber of
Shipping in the development of shipping.
- In an effort to improve further the Image of Cyprus Shipping in
general, and the Cyprus Shipping Industry Profile in particular,
both with regard to its substantial contribution to the Cyprus
Economy and Society, as well as to the sound employment
opportunities that exist in the Shipping Industry for school leavers
and university graduates, the Cyprus Shipping Council launched the
“Cyprus Shipping Public Relations Campaign”. The
Campaign mainly involves various presentations, programmes and
shipping related activities such as visits to ports, vessels,
shipping companies and training schools for the proper education of
politicians, children, teenagers, press/media, and the public at
large, with respect to the benefits of Shipping.
- Part of this Campaign is the “Day of the Sea” Event
organised by the Cyprus Shipping Council, which took place on 17
September 2006, in Limassol.The “Day of the Sea” Event
is a biennial “Open-Fair” social event related to the
Sea and Shipping. Its aim is to increase public awareness of the
Shipping Industry in general and at the same time promote the image
of the Council in Cyprus, as well as maritime employment both
onboard and ashore. Admission at the Event was open to the general
public and approximately 7000 people attended the Event.
- Last but not least, the Joint Cyprus Shipowners' Association in
cooperation with the Cyprus Government will organise for the tenth
time, the biennial international shipping Conference “Maritime
Cyprus” on 23-26 September 2007. The Conference is expected to
attract hundreds of shipping executives and experts from around the
globe. The Conference is entitled “Stay Tuned: …
Shipping New Image” and will focus on the following
issues: Shipping New Image, Recruiting, Training and Retaining of
Seafarers, and Shipowners Mission and Vision.
- 2006 was yet another year characterized by growth for Danish
shipping. Danish shipping companies continue to expand in a strong
global market, resulting in increases in all the financial key
areas, and the industry is reaching a size that makes Denmark one of
the leading seafaring nations. This position has been reached
through maritime tradition and know-how combined with stable and
competitive commercial conditions provided by positive political
attention from successive governments and parliaments over the past
decades. In light of the positive development of the industry, today
shipping is Denmark's second largest export industry and the most
globalized as 80 percent of the turnover pertains to transport
outside the EU.
- The Danish merchant fleet has never been larger and the
historically high inflow of foreign currency amounting to EUR 22
billion is an indication that the level of activity of the Danish
shipping companies has never been higher, resulting in an increase
in employment to a present figure of about 30,000 people. Especially
onshore employment is growing. Several shipping companies have
considerably extended their head office staff in Denmark, just as a
number of new shipping companies have been established in recent
years. It is reasonable to predict that this increase in activities
will continue in the next few years as the Danish shipping
companies' building programme is 15 million dwt, distributed over
300 vessels at a total value of more than EUR 11 billion.
- For the continuing growth and development of Denmark as a
leading shipping nation, the Danish Minister for Economic and
Business Affairs published an action plan that includes more than 60
specific initiatives, grouped under seven headings, covering
training, recruitment, technical special rules, tax rules, etc. The
action plan also includes a proposal for an adjustment of the
tonnage tax system to take into account the fact that other shipping
nations in the EU and Asia have more advantageous conditions in some
areas than Denmark.
- During the coming year specific initiatives from the Commission
are expected. It is not yet clear what proposals will be made and in
which direction they will take us. For instance, this applies to the
Common European Maritime Space, which on the one hand can contribute
to removing customs barriers and other administrative obstacles, but
on the other hand can set up new EU barriers in the form of special
rules for navigation in the EU, e.g. in the operational or labour
market area. The final drafting of these specific initiatives will
therefore set the scene for the work in the years to come, where the
Danish Shipowners' Association particularly will urge the EU to
maintain its global view. Such a policy will ensure continued
development in the EU of shipping as the world's largest maritime
cluster, whereas a more inward looking agenda will hamper the
development of shipping to the detriment of the entire EU.
- There have been only a few changes in the shipping sector during
the second half of 2006 and the first half of 2007.
- Eventally, the State decided to grant state aid to the
shipowners operating cargo vessels. However, it was very small, only
a mere 30 million Estonian kroons per year, and for a very short
time period - the publicly notified initial period would only be for
two years. As there were parliamentary elections in March 2007 and
the new government does not favour any state subsisidies at all, the
prolongation of this aid or granting of more aid to the shipping
sector remains most uncertain. Passenger vessels do not currently
receive any state aid.
- At the same time, it is passenger transport which is more
developed in Estonia. Tallink Grupp is investing more in new
buildings; in April 2007 Tallink was delivered a new high speed
vessel,Star.With the new ship, Tallink provides a year-round high
speed service on the Tallinn-Helsinki route and the high ice class
of the vessel enables operation in any winter weather conditions.
Tallink also has under construction 3 more passenger vessels; two
are sister ships of MV Galaxy and one, which will be delivered in
Spring 2008, is another high-speed vessel.
- Considering the current situation in Estonia, including the
negative attitude of the state authorities to take the necessary
steps to improve competitiveness of Estonian shipping sector in
general, Tallink has taken two of its vessels out of the Estonian
Ships Registry and these are now operated under the Latvian flag
which is more favourable.
- The ESCO group, being one of the few cargo operators in Estonia,
has expanded its logistic services in Norway, Denmark, the
Netherlands and Finland and is now targeting the market in the
- NT Marine's single hull tanker Viimsi has been rebuilt as a
double hull tanker, fully complying now with the relevant
international conventions. NT Marine has strengthened its positions
on Russian market operating two tankers there.
- France has had a new government for 3 months and expects a large
range of reforms.
- So far, there has been no significant change in the French flag
fleet, which was stable at 240 vessels. The unions continued to have
strong objections to the second register. French shipowners had some
193 vessels under the second register, mainly small/supply vessels.
- There has been an issue of the captain's nationality under RIF (
Registre International Français). The system is due to be
changed by law so that the nationality could be European, rather
than French, accordingly to the EU legislation. Under the RIF
regime, the captain and substitute have to be European, together
with a condition of language competence.
- An issue had arisen over the working time of the captain, the
administration deciding that he is subject to the same regime as
- The European Commission had reached a decision on the tax system
which had been launched in 2004. The outcome was a criticism of the
French government, and a requirement to terminate the system;
however, there was no requirement for reimbursement of state aid,
which was a considerable relief. There is now no specific system for
maritime investment but a general investment scheme under article
39C of the French tax code. There is a tonnage tax system with which
there are currently no issues.
- Training remains a problem that has to be considered in the
larger picture of maritime employment and the lack of officers, but
the French administration is currently considering the issue.
- The Finnish fleet has remained almost unchanged during the last
year; a few vessels have been sold or newbuildings put into traffic.
According to statistics from the Finnish Maritime Administration,
Finnish Shipping (ships over 500 gt) consisted of 141 ships with a
total deadweight of 1.5 million gt at 1st of June 2007. The new
building reserve is also small which is somewhat worrying as the
average age of the ships is climbing over twenty years. In total
there are about 9 newbuildings on order for Finnish owners (June
2007) and, hopefully, all will be carrying the Finnish flag.
- Finland's own foreign trade shipments rose to 99,2 million tons,
being nearly 10 Mt more than in the year 2005, transit shipments
being 6,6 million tons. The Finnish merchant fleet transported 28 %
of the exports and imports of the country. The number of passengers
transported by sea between Finland and other countries was 16,3
million of which over 50% was transported by Finnish vessels.
- The Finnish merchant fleet is still almost totally manned by
Finnish seafarers (7500) due to strong opposition from the Seamen's
Union against foreign employers. The Finnish Seamen-Union is to our
knowledge to day the only union in Europe still fighting for a 100%
national crew on board Finnish ships.
- There are signs for optimism for the situation of Finnish
shipping. After years of discussions, the new government and
Parliament are finally convinced that if Finland wants to maintain a
commercial shipping fleet of its own it will have to introduce the
same state aid measures as in other EU countries.
- A distinct part of the new Government's programme is shipping.
In that programme it is especially stated that the tonnage tax
legislation will be revised to a more competitive level. Also, the
use of other state aids will be looked into. Finnish shipowners hope
to see themselves in the same enterprise environment as is the
situation in the most other EU countries.
- The aim of the Finnish shipping policy is to ensure a positive
development of the Finnish merchant fleet as well as a sufficient
- German shipowners operate the largest container fleet in the
world. The German fleet is also the most modern in the world. About
half of its tonnage is less than five years old. This is an
important indicator of its reliability and eco-friendliness. German
shipping remains the backbone of globalization.
- The past year has been overall very positive for the German
maritime industry, and especially for the shipping sector. The cargo
transported rose once again and the charter rates have levelled out
above the 10-year average. The freight rates have been less rosy,
though. Massively increasing costs have hampered some results. As a
major problem, the German shipowners encountered dramatically rising
bunker costs. They have almost tripled in less than five years.
- However, there are many reasons to look very optimistically into
the coming twelve months.
- The key indices for the German fleet have been very positive in
the recent past:
The German merchant fleet is still growing strongly at more than 10%
per annum, having reached beyond 3.000 vessels.
German ship owners currently have on order around 750 ships.
For the first time in history, the German merchant fleet has risen
above 60 million GT.
The leading institutes predict a growth of the world economy of
5,3%, world trade will grow by 8,9%.
- German shipowners are certain that, despite the large order
numbers, the world market will easily absorb the new tonnage.
Shipping remains by far the most economically friendly means of
transport. Latest analysis shows that the number of ships ordered
may even be too small.
- Two factors have helped to create the current boom of the German
shipping industry: the right entrepreneurial decisions and a
political framework that is hugely supportive of the maritime
transport sector. In late 2006 the German Chancellor, Dr. Angela
Merkel, reconfirmed the pillars of the shipping policy. The tonnage
tax system and a number of voluntary steps by the social partners
have created an atmosphere of stability and mutual trust. As part of
the so called “German Maritime Alliance” the German
shipowners have promised to increase their training efforts and
bring even more ships under the German flag.
- The German shipowners have undertaken in 2007 a number of
unilateral steps to ensure that the maritime industry can continue
to thrive. In particular, the members of VDR have gathered to put
three million Euros on the table to be invested in training schools
for seafarers. This will help to smooth the currently dramatic
shortage of officers in the future. The number of graduates from
seafarer schools has to triple in order to satisfy the growing
demand. German shipowners are confident that this “positive
problem” - more highly qualified jobs have been created than
anyone had foreseen only a few years ago - will be solved in a few
- In 2006 the Greek-owned fleet strengthened its power by
increasing its total tonnage (dwt) by 3.6% whilst it maintained its
international premiership, accounting for 16.9% of world tonnage
(dwt). More particularly, Greek owners control 19.7% of the world
tanker fleet (chemical, crude oil and product carriers) and 23.2% of
the world bulk carrier fleet in terms of dwt (excluding ships
currently on order). Moreover, Greek-owned vessels flying EU Member
States' flags amount to 48.2% of EU shipping (dwt).
- In the shipbuilding sector, Greek-owned shipping achieved
similarly impressive rates. By the end of
February 2007 newbuilding orders by Greek interests amounted to 612
vessels, representing 47.9 million dwt, an increase of 86% compared
to the newbuilding tonnage of 2006. Out of these vessels, 340 are
tankers corresponding to 19.7% of world tonnage (dwt) -- i.e. 120
crude oil tankers amounting to 22.1% of world tonnage (dwt) and 220
chemical and product carriers amounting to 16.4% of world tonnage
(dwt) -- and 164 bulkers corresponding to 18.3% of world tonnage
(dwt) on order in this category. The impressive order book of
newbuildings on behalf of Greek shipowners resulted in a further
reduction of the average age of the Greek-owned fleet to 14.3 years
compared with 15.3 in 2006, whereas the average age of the
Greek-registered fleet is 11.1 years compared to 11.7 years in 2006
(including vessels on order).
- According to the National Bank of Greece, in order to manage
this fleet, more than 1,150 shipping companies operate in Greece
employing more than 11,500 persons, the vast majority of whom are
Greeks. In a wider context, the maritime cluster creates 160,000
jobs, and employs 50,000 seafarers. Despite the decrease in freight
rates during 2006, the gross receipts from transport services
increased further by €453mn reaching €14,324mn. (3.3%
compared to the particularly high earnings of 2005). It is
worthwhile to note that the net receipts from sea transport services
create 4.23% of the Greek GDP, whilst they finance 23.4% of the
country's trade deficit.
- Recently adopted measures by the government (2007) in support of
competitiveness of the Greek flag fleet are expected to attract
newbuildings and vessels in service under other flags. This will
further boost the Greek register, provide more employment for Greek
seafarers and enhance the role of Piraeus as a maritime centre
maximizing the benefits to the Greek economy from shipping
- During 2006, the relations between China and Greece were
intensified in the shipping sector and closer ties were forged
respectively. Shipping relations with Japan and South Korea are also
moving along the same lines. China, the Gulf States and Oman
expressed their interest in investing in Greek ports. The recent
signature (2007) of the Bourgas / Alexandroupolis pipeline and the
Turkey / Greece / Italy natural gas pipeline enhanced the strategic
importance of Greece both as an energy hub moving oil and gas to
Europe as well as the eastern gateway and trans-shipment center to
the EU. Since maritime transport allows the energy sector to fulfill
its essential role as the engine of our societies, the Greek fleet
proved to be instrumental in this process. In the words of the Greek
Prime Minister “shipping is a dynamic parameter of Greece's
- Size and composition of the fleet
At the end of 2006, the Italian merchant fleet consisted of 1,480
ships totalling 13,144,608 gross tons, broken down as follows: over
1,000 GT : 713 ships, totalling 12,895,551 GT; from 100 to 999 GT :
767 ships, totalling 249,057 GT. As compared with the end of 2005,
an increase of 11% in tonnage and a increase of 3% in the ships'
number has been recorded.
- The fleet flying the Italian flag accounts for 99% of the total
Italian owned merchant fleet and amounts to 1,472 totalling
13,105,437 GT , thanks to a large number of new ships and also to
the growing registration in the Italian International Register.
- The Italian units registered in the International Register are
567 totalling 11,703,530 GT; those in the Ordinary Register are 905
totalling 1,401,907 GT. The Italian ships temporarily flying a
foreign flag (bareboat charter registration) are 8 totalling 39,211
GT , representing about 0,3% of total tonnage. The proportion of the
fleet owned by totally or partially privately owned bodies is 95%.
- The Italian fleet proves again to be young: 57% of the ships are
less than 10 years old and 33% have not yet completed their 5th year
of service. The modernization of the vessels, initiated during the
last 10 years, has continued. Between 1997 and 2006, 475 ships were
delivered totalling about 6,5 millions GT.
- Balance of maritime payments
During 2006, the strong seagoing orientation of Italian foreign
trade was confirmed, as the overall volume of international
transactions for the maritime transport of cargo and passengers
registered €12,322 mn compared to €18,213 mn for all the
other systems of transportation taken together.
- The role of the maritime system in the Italian economy
The maritime system produces about €36,518 mn, equivalent to
2.7% of GDP, the same amount of the agricultural sector. The most
significant portion of the maritime economy is to be assigned to the
maritime transport of goods and passengers, with yielding dimension
of €15,684 mn, equivalent to 43% of the entire maritime system.
This is a sector with a strong capacity to produce profit: the
national system creates a yielding of over €210 corresponding
to each additional €100 that go to the shipping sector because
of new investments or increased exports and consumptions. From the
occupational point of view, it is estimated that 100 additional
labour units in the maritime sector become 328 in the entire
economic system. At the end of 2006, on-board jobs with the Italian
fleet are estimated more than 30,500, for an increase of 11% over
the previous year.
- Competitiveness of the Italian fleet
With the introduction of the international register and the tonnage
tax, the reform of navigation has been completed, in compliance with
the European Community policy. This means that not only is the
Italian shipping industry currently able to operate on an equal
footing with the international competition, but there has been a
noteworthy revival of maritime activities, with the result that
decision-making and administrative hubs that might otherwise have
been moved to offshore areas have been kept (and in some case
relocated) in Italy.
- Thanks to massive investments in new vessels, and the resulting
movement of enormous financial resources, the Italian shipping
industry has taken on the dimensions of a leading industrial sector
in the past few years. For this reason, all the different components
of the finance industry (banks, mutual funds, private equity, stock
markets) are looking at maritime activities from a different
perspective. Orders for new vessels by Italian shipping enterprises
are forecast to reach 6, 7 and 9 billion dollars over the next few
- In the last seven years, is estimated that the Italian
shipowners have invested €27 bn in new buildings.
- The trend showing the number and capacity of merchant vessels
under Lithuanian flag remains stable for the second year running. As
of 01.01.2007 there were 169 vessels of 473395 GT registered in the
Lithuanian maritime ships' register. There are about 2500 seafarers
employed on the national fleet with about 8000 serving on foreign
ships. Despite the fact that Lithuania is considered as an
“exporter” of seafarers, 2007 was the first time that
the biggest national companies have faced a shortage of seafarers.
- Following the decision of the Governmental Strategic Committee
to approve guidelines on the basis of a study on the “Relevance
and Economic Impact a Modern Shipping Policy on Lithuania's Economy”
in 2004, the Lithuanian Shipowners Association has focused on two
main fiscal measures: to introduce of Tonnage tax system and to
reduce Social contribution taxes.
- In July 2006 the European Commission approved a scheme for a
Tonnage Tax system. Further steps have been taken by Lithuanian
institutions - in December 2006 the system was approved by
Government and in May 2007 by Parliament. Although the Tonnage
system was implemented in 2007, shipping companies can already enjoy
this system for the 2007 fiscal year. More complicated, and raising
many discussions, is the remaining question of the reduction of
social contribution taxes.
- In 2005, the Lithuanian Government and stakeholders came to a
mutual agreement suggesting a reduction in Social contribution
taxes. Accordingly, in March, 2006 the endorsement of the European
Commission was received. In June 2007 the Lithuanian Parliament
voted in favour of such reductions, but the Lithuanian President
vetoed the law. The main argument, that one social group of labour
can not be exclusive from others in respect of social contribution,
- There is a need for the competitiveness of the Lithuanian
shipping sector to be increased and for the continuing improvement
of the reputation of the Lithuanian flag; the further application of
state aid measures as described by the Community Guidelines on State
aid to maritime transport would stimulate a renewal of the
- Altogether, 2006 was profitable for the main Lithuanian shipping
- The number of ships registered under the Malta Merchant Shipping
Act was 4,304 with a total gross tonnage of over 25.5 million (as at
the end of September, 2006). Of these, about 1,400 ships of 25.3
million gross tons, mainly European owned, are engaged in the
carriage of bulk liquid and dry bulk cargoes on international
trades, including cross-trades between ports in the growing Asian
markets and other continents, thus providing valuable invisible
earnings and resources for the development of the European shipping
industry and the European (and Maltese) economy.
- This signifies that during 2006 the Malta Ship Register has
continued to grow and has retained its place as the second largest
register in Europe and one of the 10 largest registers in the world
in terms of tonnage.
- Malta has adopted and implements all the major international
maritime conventions including SOLAS 74/78 (including 1988
Protocol), Load Lines 66 (including 1988 Protocol), Tonnage 69,
Colreg 72, Marpol 73/78, STCW 78 (including 95 amendments), London
Convention 72, Sar 79, Fal 65, INMARSAT, SUA 88 (including 1988
Protocol), OPRC 90 and OPRC - HNS (Protocol 2000), Fund 92, CLC 92
and LLMC 96.
- Other Conventions / Protocols such as Annexes IV and VI of
Marpol, the Bunkers Convention 2001, the HNS Convention 96 and the
Anti-Fouling Substances Convention 2001 are in the process of being
ratified. Malta is an elected member of the Council of the
International Maritime Organization (IMO).
- In a recent study it has been estimated that the wideranging
maritime cluster that has developed around shipping in Malta makes a
significant contribution to the Maltese economy (about 15% of GDP)
and a lot of importance is therefore given to the continued growth
of the Malta Register as a quality ship register in Europe.
- In line with its policy that growth can best be achieved through
quality, the Malta-flag Administration has strengthened its ship
inspection regime both nationally, through inspectors in the direct
employ of the Malta Maritime Authority and internationally, through
a network of overseas inspectors covering ports in at least 78
- This emphasis on safety and quality has earned Malta a place as
a full member of the Paris Port State Control MoU and Maltese ships
are now classified in the White List of the Paris MoU. Also, the
Malta Maritime Authority is a founder member of and an active
participant in the Mediterranean MoU on port state control of which
the Executive Shipping Director of the Authority is the current
- The interests of international shipowners who have made the
Malta Ship Register the register of their choice and confidence are
represented by the Malta International Shipping Council (MISC) which
was established as a notfor-profit association of shipowners in
2005. MISC is a full member of the European Community Shipowners'
- In the course of the year, MISC has exercised its lobbying and
representation functions on a number of issues which impact on
shipowners and the shipping industry in general. Representations
have been made directly to the Government of Malta and the maritime
authorities in Malta on such issues as the court case relating to
criminal sanctions on ship-source pollution, the maritime safety
packages, competition rules for liner and tramp shipping, the ILO
Maritime Labour Convention, short sea shipping, European port
policies, security and advance cargo declarations, civil liability
and financial guarantees of shipowners. MISC also regularly makes
representations to the MEP representing Malta in the European
Parliament on issues of importance or concern to shipowners.
- During the twelve months under review, prominence has also been
given in Malta to the Green Paper on a future maritime policy for
the European Union. MISC has actively participated in a Seminar on
the Green Paper held in September, 2006 in the presence of EU
Commissioner Joe Borg, who is responsible for the consultation
process on the Green Paper. More recently, in February, 2007, MISC
had another opportunity to put across its views and those of ECSA
when its General Secretary made a power-point presentation at a
National Conference on the subject of “Towards a Holistic
Maritime Policy - The Competitiveness of Shipping”, in which
the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for shipping took
part. The emphasis of this presentation was that an EU maritime
policy should aim at a set of positive measures which will support,
energize and render more competitive the maritime transport industry
and its substantial cluster of marine related activities, in
consonance with the Lisbon Strategy for economic growth and
increased employment in Europe and in harmony with the goal of
safeguarding of the marine environment.
- THE NETHERLANDS
- 2006 saw a substantial expansion of the world fleet as a result
of strong development of world trade. However, rates for tonnage
transported did not match those achieved in the top year 2004. This
may be attributed to the increase in the supply of ships' capacity
and a slight reduction in the demand for said capacity. High bunker
prices also affected results in 2006.
- Ten years ago, in 1996, the - then - new shipping policy was
presented. This government policy -considered to be innovative in
many of its aspects- was aimed at the continued development of not
only the Dutch shipping industry but also the entire maritime
cluster of the Netherlands (totalling 190,000 jobs). The shipping
policy was very effective, judging by the growth of the fleet
registered in the Netherlands by 50 percent over the period between
1996 and 2003. Employment increased by 57 percent and added value by
67 percent over the same period. The Dutch shipping policy set a
shining example and was therefore copied and improved by a
considerable number of European countries. This has caused the
Netherlands to lag behind. On the occasion of the 10-year
anniversary of the Dutch shipping policy it has lost momentum. In
actual fact this has been the case since 2003, which is in sharp
contrast to the world fleet, the total tonnage of which is expanding
at a rate of 7 percent annually. Dutch shipowners are ordering new
ships - benefiting other segments of the maritime cluster in the
Netherlands like shipyards and maritime suppliers - but these are
largely intended to replace existing ships in the fleet. In real
terms the fleet is barely expanding and therefore losing ground.
Development of the added value and employment are also failing to
keep up with the Dutch economy as a whole.
- For the shipping industry to be able to continue to set the
course for the entire maritime cluster in the Netherlands it needs
new impetus to allow the Dutch shipping industry to go full steam
ahead once again. To this end the KVNR presented its vision paper:
The Shipping Industry in the Netherlands: Full Steam Ahead, on 6
November 2006 to the minister of Transport, Public Works and Water
Management. In this paper the KVNR outlines its vision of the decade
to come, set out in a number of objectives, and offers the tools to
help realise this vision. This is the KVNR's contribution to the
current evaluation of the shipping policy being carried out by the
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management as well as
to modification of the policy. Recommendations regarding
modifications to the policy are expected by early 2008. Another of
the vision paper's purposes is to contribute to the process -
instigated by the European Commission - of formulating an integrated
maritime policy (the Maritime Green Paper).
- One of the objectives set out in the vision paper is to increase
the number of ships flying the Dutch flag from 750 -now- to 1,200 by
2016 and to achieve an increase in the number of Dutch seafarers
proportionally to the growth of this flag. To be able to realise
these objectives a number of priorities have been listed that should
be jointly addressed by all concerned (shipowners, nautical
colleges, trade organisations and government). Cooperation in this
matter is imperative and -to the
KVNR- an obvious requirement.
- The level of service rendered by the Netherlands' Shipping
Inspectorate (NSI) is an area of grave concern. Certification
regarding registration and manning of ships registered in the
Netherlands is issued by this organisation. If the Dutch register is
to remain an attractive one compared to other -EU and non-EU-
registers, a customer-friendly, fast and high quality level of
service is essential. For quite some time now the NSI's service has
been very much unsatisfactory, in spite of promises of improvement.
Consequently, the appeal of Dutch register and Dutch seafarers alike
is at serious risk.
- The fiscal maritime climate is pivotal to the Dutch shipowners'
competitive position. Hence the prominence granted to fiscal policy
in the 1996 shipping policy. Fiscal policy comprises the tonnage tax
regime and the wage withholding tax facilities. In the tonnage tax
regime profits derived from shipping activities are taxed and fixed
at a favourable rate thus creating a ‘level playing field'
amongst the various competing registers, especially those from
outside the European Union. Improvements to the tonnage tax regime
are essential to both the regime itself and the Inland Revenue's
interpretation thereof. The latter should be in alignment with the
interpretation used in other European countries. The regime should
offer shipowners the option of choosing for themselves the moment
from which tonnage tax is to be applied to their shipping
- The wage withholding tax facility in the shipping industry was
aimed at improving Dutch seafarers' position in the labour market.
It offers Dutch shipowners a reduction on employment costs for those
of their seafarers that are taxable in the Netherlands and/or liable
for social security payments. It would be much harder to continue
employment of Dutch seafarers without this system. At the end of
their working life at sea, seafarers commonly continue their careers
as part of shipowners' shore-based operations or in other parts of
the maritime cluster. Being technically trained professionals they
play an important role within the maritime cluster. In the KVNR's
view, improvement of this system of reduced contributions regarding
Dutch seafarers is of the essence in order to reduce disadvantageous
employment costs to an internationally competitive level and thus to
secure their position in the labour market.
- The abolition of the regulation that taxes meals, which are
provided to the seafarers on board the ship, and the introduction of
the Life Course plan as well as a number of other -technical- issues
have unintentionally caused the system's effectiveness to become
eroded. The KVNR is currently working on proposals to restore the
system of reduced contributions to European levels.
- A new government has come into power at the beginning of 2007,
with a new coalition agreement. One of its objectives is to downsize
the volume of bureaucracy in the government.While in agreement with
the principle of continuously monitoring the volume of bureaucracy,
the KVNR does point out the risk of a possible loss of knowledge and
expertise. This loss would lead to an erosion of maritime
policy-making, both at national and international level. Some of the
NSI's downsizing may be realized by transferring duties regarding
certification to the private market. The sound and timely execution
of other aspects of service however will have to continue to be
- In facing the future, we express the expectation that in the
very near future the utmost priority is going to be accorded to
restoring the NSI's level of service. Also, the government and the
shipping industry together will have to address the priorities -as
indicated in the vision paper-in the coming period. Then, and only
then, growth may be restored, a growth that is essential to the
shipping industry itself, on-board employment and the Dutch maritime
cluster as a whole. The shipping industry can only continue its
contribution to the growth of employment and the Dutch economy if
its own potential for growth is restored.
- Developments in the Norwegian shipping industry
Shipping is a major Norwegian industry and the second most important
export industry, generating export revenues (gross freight income)
of more than 82 billion NOK (10 billion Euro) in 2006. Norwegian
shipping companies form the core of Norwegian maritime industries
cluster employing some 90.000 Norwegians.
- Instability and controversy have marked the Norwegian maritime
policy over recent years. The Norwegian tonnage tax system, which
was introduced in 1996, is no longer competitive compared to
international systems, including tonnage tax systems in other
European countries. Over the last years a clear trend has been seen
in which new shipping projects and activities, controlled be
Norwegian interests, are located outside Norway.
- However, the red-green, majority government, which took office
in the autumn of 2005 has committed itself to promote global
competitiveness of key Norwegian industries, including the maritime
industries. The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry is
currently preparing a national maritime strategy which will be
submitted in the autumn of 2007. In parallel to the process of
preparing the strategy, the Minister of Finance is considering a
revision of the tonnage tax system. A proposed revision may be
submitted to the Parliament in October 2007 in connection with the
proposed state budget for 2008. The Norwegian Shipowners'
Association is hopeful that this will restore the competitiveness of
the Norwegian tonnage tax system.
- It is estimated that Norwegian shipping companies will have a
substantial recruitment need in the coming years, due to a growing
fleet as well as a significant share of the seafaring personnel
reaching retirement age. Recruitment of Norwegian and foreign
officers has become harder, shortages are reported in particular in
offshore service, chemical and gas tankers are areas where it is
- Against this background the NSA, in co-operation with the
Norwegian Maritime Forum, in January 2007 launched a major three
year campaign to promote the maritime vocation among Norwegian
youngsters. The campaign has generated much public attention and the
campaign internet home page had almost 80.000 unique visitors during
the first 10 weeks.
- The Norwegian controlled fleet increased by 7.8% to 40.0 million
dwt from January 2006 to January 2007. The fleet grew by 132 in
numbers to 1.774 vessels. More than 2/3 of the fleet fly EEA-flags,
including more than fifty percent under Norwegian flag.
- At the beginning of 2007 Norwegian shipowners had newbuilding
contracts for 356 ships, valued at 114 billion NOK, in addition to
25 rigs on order, valued at 40 billion NOK. The total value of 154
billion NOK (18,75 billion Euro) represents a 60% increase compared
to January 2006. Norwegian yards accounted for 121 of the ships on
order, another 54 orders were placed at other European yards in
Poland, Spain, Finland, Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
- As of February 2005 some 55,500 persons of more than 60
different nationalities were employed onboard Norwegian controlled
merchant vessels and rigs. Some 15,200 of these were Norwegian
nationals, 10.600 of other EEA-nationalities and another 1,100 of
other European nationalities. The most important non-European
nationalities serving onboard Norwegian controlled vessels were
Filipinos and Indians, represented by 16,600 and 4,000 seafarers
- The significance of shipping in particular, and the entire
maritime cluster as a whole, was the subject of several seminars and
noteworthy public statements by various representatives of the
shipping industry in the past years. The continued public debate
finally culminated with the establishment of an independent Ministry
of Maritime Economy in May 2006, thus highlighting the importance of
Poland's maritime industry in the governmental programme of economic
- The first tangible sign of the process initiated by these
reforms was the introduction of a new Tonnage Tax Law of 24th August
2006 enacted by the Polish Sejm (Parliament) and thereafter given
Presidential assent with the aim of enticing shipowners to re-flag
their vessels with the Polish Register of Shipping. The new Tonnage
Tax Law entered into force as from 1st January 2007.
- In addition to this new legislation, the Ministry of Maritime
Economy has also been concentrating its efforts on supporting
maritime stakeholders' activities targeting compliance with the
applicable international standards and Community Law, especially in
the spheres of safety, security, environmental performance and
on-board working conditions.
- The next step forward is a proposed new law applying to
engagement and employment of seafarers on seagoing vessels, which
was announced for consultation on 9th February 2007.Yet, there are
still plenty of efforts by the shipping community to amplify the
necessity for early implementation of maritime transport reforms in
line with the EC Guidelines on State Aid to Maritime Transport
(2004/C 13/03). Although the impact of the new Tonnage Tax Law
remains to be assessed in the coming months and years, the majority
of the Polish-owned fleet continues to be registered under the flags
of third countries which enjoy a significant competitive edge over
the Polish Register of Shipping.
- As at 1st January 2007, Polish shipowners operated a fleet of
121 vessels (wholly owned or co-owned) totaling 1,821,400 GT or
2,532,500 DWT; only 14 ships were registered under the Polish flag ,
representing 11,6 % of total number of ships and 2.0 % of total
GT.The average age of the fleet was 20,2 years. 4 newbuildings were
commissioned in 2006 (26,400 DWT and 30,600 GT in total) and 13
units sold or scrapped. In addition, 2006 saw a number of purchase
transactions involving Polish shipowners.
- The total volume of cargo and passengers carried by the fleet in
2006 amounted to some 10,000,000 tons of cargo, an increase of 7 %
in comparison to the previous year, and 942,000 passengers, 6.2%
more than in 2005.As at the and of April 2007 there were 10 (plus 4
options) bulk carriers, in the range of DWT 30,000 - 80,000, 6 MPP,
heavy lift carriers of DWT 31,000 each and 2 Ro-pax vessels ordered
by Polish shipowners for deliveries in 2008 - 2011. Statistical data
for 2006 indicates that 21,800,000 tonnes were unloaded and
38,700,000 tonnes of goods were loaded in Polish Seaports.
- Finally, an analysis of Poland's employment structure reveals
that as much as 55 % of the total workforce was engaged in the
provision of various services, contributing by up to 64.5 % of
Poland's GDP achieved in 2005. Of this the Polish Maritime cluster
contributes some 13 %.
- Although keeping a permanent pressure on the Maritime
Administration, the Portuguese shipowners saw one more year gone
without having a package of positive measures adopted by the
Portuguese Government (such as the tonnage tax), based on the
Commission State Aid Guidelines.
- Nevertheless, at the end of the year, the Minister of Transport
presented a preliminary document containing the “Strategic
Guidelines for the Maritime and Ports Sector” in which some
(but not sufficient) measures were proposed for maritime transport.
As requested by the Minister, the Portuguese Shipowners' Association
has proposed a set of adjustments to be introduced in the document
in order to make it more consistent and effective. So far, no
concrete reaction to this contribution has been received, and the
most achieved was that the subject is being duly analysed.
- Portuguese Shipowners are afraid this can be “an empty
box”, as has happened with other similar Government
initiatives in the past. Meanwhile the fleet continues to decline,
and the expectations to have a healthy maritime climate to develop
shipping and the maritime cluster, are becoming more and more
- On the other hand, maritime education and training are still
waiting for a reform to adjust it to the real needs of employers
and, consequently, the lack of seafaring personnel has become a
critical bottleneck for the Portuguese shipowners as well as for the
entire maritime sector.
- Depending on the results of the proposed maritime policy,
shipowners are in a position to implement a programme, with the
support of other stakeholders, to encourage young people to consider
a career involving the sea.
- In spite of its smallness, the Republic of Slovenia is well
aware of the significance of transportation and, within it, the
position of maritime transport. Its geographic and transport
position within Europe is one of the advantages of Slovenia.
- The leading Slovenian shipowner Splosna plovba has a tradition
of offering its maritime transport services on the international
maritime market for 53 years continuously. It operates 20 vessels of
684.135 dwt in the tramp market and also in liner services on the
- In 2006, the Resolution on the Transport Policy of the Republic
of Slovenia was adopted, which emphasizes that it is essential to
secure better conditions for the growth of the maritime sector and,
consequently, the increase of the number of Slovenian seafarers,
thereby, enabling conditions for a competitive approach in the world
market. All this is achievable with adequate changes in the system
of taxation, i.e. the introduction of the tax based on tonnage and
with changes to the income taxation of seafarers, including relief
for social security contributions.
- In 2006, the Tonnage Tax Act was in preparation and was adopted
by the Slovenian Parliament in June 2007, and sent to the European
Commission for approval. It is foreseen that the act will come into
force in autumn 2007, upon approval by the European Commission on
the scheme of state aid as per the Tonnage Tax Act. The Slovenian
taxation legislation in this field will thus be harmonized with
other European maritime countries.
- The Slovenian taxation legislation introduced in 2006 increased
relief for the taxation of seafarers and therefore somewhat
facilitated the conditions of employment of Slovenian seafarers, in
spite of the fact that such a taxation basis is still rather high
and is not comparable to the relief offered to seafarers employed
with other European shipowners.
- Slovenian shipowners are confronted with a deficit of
specialized seafarers, especially marine engine technicians and
engineers. Companies are obliged to employ such skilled labor on the
international market.With the aim of improving the attainment of a
domestic workforce, the company Splosna plovba has invited
applications for scholarships in all fields at the Secondary Marine
- After the slight reduction experienced the previous year, in
2006, the tonnage of the total merchant fleet controlled by Spanish
shipping companies increased by 7.0%, in terms of GT and 4.4% in
dwt.At the beginning of 2007, Spanish shipping companies controlled
287 ships with 4.368.530 GT and 5.288.961 dwt.
- Out of these totals, 171 ships (59.6%), with 2.31 million GT
(52.8%) and 2.09 million dwt (39.5%) were flying the Spanish flag,
all registered in the Special Canary Islands Register (REC). The
controlled fleet operating under foreign flags grew by 11.1% in GT;
and 11.5% in DWT, adding up to 116 ships, 3 more than in 2005. Last
year Spanish shipping companies received only 5 newbuildings, of
which 3 were registered in the REC and the other 2 in other EU
registries. In the last 4 years, the total investment in
newbuildings reached 2.0 billion euro.
- During 2006, there has been a significant increase, by 23.7%, of
the tonnage of bulk carriers fleet controlled by Spanish shipping
companies. In terms of units, the passenger ships registered the
highest increase, with 11 additional vessels.
- Spanish seaborne trade (imports + exports + national cabotage)
increased by 4.1%, reaching a new record 342 million tonnes. General
cargo trade increased by 10.5% to 99.4 million tonnes, dry bulk rose
by only 0.9% to 106.3 million tonnes and liquid bulk shipments by
2.4% to 136.4 million tonnes.Transport demand increased strongly in
exports (59 million tonnes, +8.6%) and less in imports (238.9
million tonnes, +3.7%),while sea transport in cabotage trades only
increased by 0,6% to 44,0 million tonnes.
- Spanish exports consist mainly of general cargo (61.8%), while
most of the imports are bulk commodities, both liquid (46.0%) and
dry (37.5%), summing up together 83.5% of imports. In cabotage
trades, 53.3% of the tonnage transported is general cargo, 27.2%
liquid bulks and 19.4% dry bulks. In the last 10 years, Spanish
seaborne trade has increased by 51.1%, of which 33.5% in the last 5
years, which is equivalent to an annual average growth of 4.2%.
- As from 1st January 2007, the Spanish flag ranks 21st in the
White List of the Paris MOU, improving from the 30th position in
2006, as a consequence of the good result obtain by Spanish ships on
PSC inspections during last year. Spanish shipowners, coordinated by
ANAVE, continue working with the Maritime Administration to
consolidate and improve this positive achievement.
- The two major legal initiatives in the maritime field, an
amendment to the Ports Law and a new Sea Navigation Law, have been
blocked in the Parliament for the whole year. The Spanish Government
has not been able to obtain sufficient support from the opposition
parties for their adoption.
- On the contrary, with the support of several Ministries and of
the major maritime Union organisations, it was possible to obtain,
by the end of June 2007, the approval by the Government of a special
regime that will facilitate the employment of non-European seafarers
onboard ships registered in the REC - a positive measure that would
help to restore, to some extent, the competitiveness lost by this
register in the last two years.
- The Swedish Shipowners' Association celebrated its centenary in
2006. The highlight was, of course, the annual general meeting on 18
May, in Göteborg and the subsequent gala banquet with H.M. King
Carl XVI Gustaf as the guest of honour.
- Shipping-related research has had a breakthrough as a result of
the investment in the marine competence centre Lighthouse, located
in Göteborg. The project was inaugurated on 7 December, 2006,
in conjunction with the installation of a new bridge simulator. Just
in time for the inauguration, we were happy to learn that VINNOVA
(the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) and the
Swedish Maritime Administration had agreed to finance part of the
project. All the conditions for success are now in place and it is
now up to the member shipping companies to be active and plan the
different research projects in the shipping sector, which are
considered to be most useful for shipping.
- The shipping markets have been good in recent years and have
generated positive growth for shipping globally. This, of course, is
very much a consequence of the trend in Asia and, not least, in
China. The demand for transportation continues to rise and is
creating the necessary conditions for continued favourable growth.
Swedish shipping is well placed to continue to benefit from this
trend.This is, however, conditional on shipping being able to
operate in the same business conditions as those applying in,
primarily, the EU. A tonnage tax was not introduced in 2007, as the
Association had hoped, and this naturally creates an atmosphere of
uncertainty about the future. Sweden has as from September 2007 a
new government. Hopefully, this will mean a better understanding of
the conditions for a successful national shipping industry in
- The environment is once again high on the political agenda. The
Swedish Shipowners' Association is working actively and successfully
on different measures for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
- An integrated emissions trading system for shore-based industry
and shipping would rapidly lead to sharp reductions at a cost far
lower than that of the alternative of additional regulation of both
shipping and shore-based industry.With a trading system in place,
shipowners who invest in environmentally friendly ships would be
rewarded. Alternative fuels, e.g. gas, which is a well-tried form of
fuel for ships, would then be a realistic alternative to bunker oil
with a high sulphur content.
- UNITED KINGDOM
- UK based shipping continues to benefit from the growth in world
trade and the UK's Tonnage Tax regime remains fundamentally
attractive. UK-owned shipping increased in tonnage terms in the year
to March 2007 by more than 4% to 18.2m deadweight tonnes and is now
150% higher than in 2000. UK-registered shipping also continued on a
rising trend, increasing by 9% to 12.4m dwt over the period. This
continued growth pushed up both turnover and the contribution of sea
transport to the UK balance of payments. The most recent official
figures show gross shipping revenues increased to Euros17bn
(£11.6bn) in 2005. Sea Transport has maintained third place in
the table of service export earners, drawing further ahead of air
transport and exceeded only by financial services and tourism;
British shipping is now earning nearly Euros 2m (£1.3m) every
hour of every day for the economy.
- Maintaining this level of growth in fiercely competitive
shipping markets continues to prove challenging. A stable fiscal
environment is a prerequisite for those making shipping investments
and two UK issues have created uncertainty; unfortunately the UK
government was not to be moved from its overriding desire to reform
leasing taxation and currently certain aspects of the Tonnage Tax
regime are being re-examined by the European Commission. The need
for both Government and the European Commission to understand the
complexity of an internationally focussed shipping industry and for
fiscal stability remains of paramount importance.
- Ports policy has been under scrutiny at both national and EU
level in 2006 with three reviews launched in the UK. The Department
for Transport review of ports policy in England and Wales was
launched in May, followed by a parallel reviews by the Scottish
Executive and another in Northern Ireland. The Chamber has stressed
the need for adequate port capacity - and for a policy framework
that would encourage investment in new terminals, short sea links,
deliver good road and rail links inland and enable a competitive
market in port services to flourish.
- One of the year's key issues has of course been the environment
and a wide range of initiatives have impacted the maritime sector.
In 2006 the Chamber issued an ‘Environmental Statement' to
highlight best practice and to promote the image of shipping as
being environmentally responsible. The industry must clearly respond
to a number of challenges, not least it must demonstrate commitment
to reducing its carbon impact and the Chamber has encouraged all its
members to sign up to the IMO Indexing Trial so that an accurate and
detailed picture of ship emissions can be developed on a sectoral
and regional basis. Although the highly respected Stern Report
placed the carbon emissions of shipping and rail combined at just
1.75% of the global total nevertheless a greater understanding of
air emissions is urgently needed in order that measured reductions
can be achieved.
- On employment, the Chamber has continued to work to improve the
recruitment of high-calibre young people. The introduction of the
new Foundation Degree developed by the Merchant Navy Training Board
has been a huge step forward and this programme which is designed to
attract recruits who wish to enter the Merchant Navy and who aspire
to a degree-based education, has proved highly successful in its
- The Chamber is fighting a proposal from the UK Government to
amend its legislation under which seafarers resident in and
recruited from countries other than the UK may be remunerated at
different rates from their UK counterparts. The UK's laws have been
challenged by the European Commission following a complaint from
maritime trade unions that they were in breach of European rules
prohibiting discrimination on grounds of nationality. The ability of
UK-flag operators to pay market rates to seafarers from other EU
Member States is essential to their competitive position vis-à-vis
ships sailing under other flags. The Government is likely to make a
decision before the end of 2007. Should it outlaw pay differentials
between seafarers from different EU Member States, it will make it
very difficult for many operators to remain on the UK register and
on other EU registers.
- Learning from the lessons of the successful Sea Vision awareness
initiative which has attracted 70 new partners from across the
entire maritime sector in the last twelve months, the Chamber has
also brought together elements of the commercial maritime cluster in
an informal grouping known as ‘Maritime UK'. Collective
responses have been developed to two major consultations, one on the
proposal for a Marine Bill in the UK and the second on the EU's
Future Maritime Policy Green Paper. Both of these sectoral
submissions have been welcomed by government which like the
Commission is interested in improving integration in policy making
and developing a more holistic approach to maritime governance.