German maritime industry faces major challenges: report

Germany’s maritime industry was facing major challenges such as reducing CO2 emissions, international competition and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the German government’s 7th annual maritime report released on Wednesday.

“Right now the industry is badly affected by COVID-19, but we also need to see the crisis as an opportunity. The maritime industry is an industry with a future and growth,” Norbert Brackmann, government maritime coordinator, said in a statement.

Investment decisions in long-lived assets such as cruise ships would be postponed due to pandemic-related market distortions. According to the report, the German industry assumed that there would be no new cruise ship orders until 2023 or even 2024.

The development and production of climate-friendly maritime technologies would, however, represent a “growing future market” for German companies. According to the report, a third of the world’s container ships were owned by German shipping companies.

As Germany seeks to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030, in line with the EU target set in December 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to cut emissions by at least half. CO2 from the sector by 2050.

As part of Germany’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan, the energy transition of the country’s maritime industry has been promoted with one billion euros (US$1.19 billion). Measures included support for maritime research and development, renewal of the fleet of government vessels, conversion to green pipes as well as alternative fuels.

In order to be able to “compete on an equal footing” in world trade, maritime transport, shipbuilding capacities and well-functioning ports were essential bases for Germany, according to the report.

More than 90% of intercontinental trade in goods would take place by sea, the report notes. Germany transported around 60% of its exports and a large part of its imports of raw materials by ship.
Source: Famagusta Gazette