EU Shipping Policy Needs Stronger Global Orientation

Photo: European Community Shipowners

By Aiswarya Lakshmi

The EU has an overall competitive regime in place
for fiscal and social measures as well as quality registers and a
strong skills base. This combination supports the current status
of the EU as an attractive location for shipping activities.

European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said quoting a
study by Monitor Deloitte that to develop further growth in
European shipping, the EU however needs to adapt this framework
into a comprehensive, globally oriented shipping policy that aims
to improve the EU's competitiveness as a location for
international shipping.

That is the principal conclusion from a study by Monitor Deloitte
that benchmarks the overall EU policy framework for shipping with
policies of five international shipping centers.

The study was commissioned by ECSA as input for the ongoing
review of EU shipping policy, which started in 2015 with a
mid-term review of the 2009-2018 Maritime Transport Strategy. The
results of the study were presented this afternoon at a press
conference held in the context of European Shipping Week.

"The study demonstrates that successful shipping centres combine
investment in an attractive business climate with investment in
quality and skills", said ECSA President Niels Smedegaard, "It is
encouraging to see that the EU is in a good position and does not
need a dramatic policy change. But global competition is fierce
and we cannot take our position for granted."

Niels added: "The study shows there are a number of policy gaps
that should be addressed, firstly to maintain and then to enhance
even further the competitive position of the EU. We have a unique
momentum to do so now with the EU maritime year. We therefore
offer this study as a basis for discussion on the EU shipping
strategy for the next decade."

The Monitor Deloitte study confirms that the maritime state aid
guidelines form an essential part of the EU policy framework.
"Legal certainty in the continuity of the guidelines is
paramount", said Niels Smedegaard, "The guidelines are inherently
flexible in nature and should therefore in their current format
already allow for new growth opportunities of the maritime
cluster and more competitiveness."

A globally-oriented EU shipping policy also involves the trade
dimension. The Monitor Deloitte study recognises that the EU
plays a very positive role in supporting bilateral and
multilateral free trade agreements as well as in promoting
individual market access cases. "We need a more structured EU
external shipping policy to capitalise on this positive role,
similar to the one existing for aviation. With protectionism on
the rise worldwide, Europe should remain a champion of free
trade", concluded Niels Smedegaard. To underline this message,
ECSA also published today a series of recommendations for an EU
external shipping policy.

The Monitor Deloitte study compares the overall EU policy
framework for shipping with policies of Singapore, Hong Kong,
Dubai, Shanghai and Vancouver. The benchmark exercise is based on
eight criteria: taxation and fiscal incentives, availability of
professional services, regulatory, economic and political
factors, skills, flag attractiveness, ease of doing business,
legal framework for vessel exploitation and availablilty of
finance.

Feb 28, 2017

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