German Maritime Industry Facing 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 7th annual maritime report by the German government published on Wednesday.

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“At present, the industry is severely affected by COVID-19, but we must also see the crisis as an opportunity. The maritime industry is a future and growth industry,” said Norbert Brackmann, governmental maritime coordinator, 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 industry in Germany assumed that there would be no new orders for cruise ships until 2023 or even 2024.

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

While Germany is seeking to reduce emissions by 55 percent by 2030 in line with the EU target set in December 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to at least halve CO2 emissions in the sector by 2050.

As part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package in Germany, the energy transition of the country’s maritime industry was promoted with one billion euros (1.19 billion U.S. dollars). Measures included support for maritime research and development, fleet renewal of government vessels, conversion to green drives as well as alternative fuels.

In order to be able to “compete on an equal level” in global trade, shipping, shipbuilding capabilities and high-performance ports were key foundations for Germany, the report found.

More than 90 percent of intercontinental exchange of goods would take place by sea, the report noted. Germany transported around 60 percent of its exports and a large share of its raw material imports by ship.