For everyone involved in organising European Shipping Week, there is the firm belief that we are in a position to help guide the global shipping industry through the challenges that lie ahead. To this end, we have arrived at some key messages that define the future role we envisage for European shipping.
1. European shipping is part of the climate change solution
European shipping firmly believes it is part of the solution against climate change, and it has been a world leader in the industry in actively looking for solutions to reduce emissions both at sea and at port. Our sector will continue to work with both European and national regulators, in conjunction with the maritime cluster, to strive for greater carbon efficiency and new technologies that will radically cut emissions in order to reach the IMO’s goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. To get there, we need a concerted global approach and common rules under the auspices of the IMO, where a united EU voice will help to lead the world forward.
2. European shipping fully embraces digital transformation in order to stay ahead of the curve
Digitalisation is transforming every aspect of shipping, from blockchain-based smart contracts and booking platforms to automated shipping and simulator training. This wave needs the support of regulators to facilitate its uptake while ensuring job security through reskilling and enough free space to let innovation determine its own course. Digitalisation also brings about the need for cybersecurity. A lack of cybersecurity does not only undermine operations, but also puts the lives of seafarers at risk.
3. Sustainable maritime growth depends on the attractiveness of maritime careers
European shipping is a world leader because of its long maritime history and unique knowhow. This is why we consider our maritime professionals as the foundation of our industry. To maintain our high level of expertise, we believe in preparing our workforce for the future through training and reskilling. To enlarge our talent pool, we need to attract, recruit and retain more women and young people to the industry. To do so, we make sure our work environment embraces diversity and equal opportunities, we offer high-quality jobs as well as challenging, rewarding and varied career paths. Through such developments, we make sure European shipping stays competitive and achieves sustained growth.
4. European shipping supports free, open, rule-based global trade
Global trade has never been so volatile or unpredictable as today, due to a multitude of trade disputes and geo-political tensions. Unfortunately, shipping stands at the frontline of these conflicts. In this environment, the EU can help the industry by redoubling its efforts to champion free trade. At the WTO, the industry fully supports the EU in ensuring a rule-based multilateral trading environment. In the EU’s bilateral negotiations with third countries, European shipping considers a paragraph on the access to port and maritime services a necessary element in all FTAs.
5. European shipping supports a global level playing field
Europe has to remain competitive as the world’s prime business location for shipowners and other sectors in the maritime cluster. A global level playing field for Europe-based shipping companies is a key prerequisite, as are stable framework conditions fostering economic growth and job creation across the EU. With the rise of unfair competition coming from other maritime centres through heavy direct and indirect state subsidies, European shipping is facing unprecedented challenges in maintaining its global dominance. The EU must ensure that competition distorting practices can be addressed in its trade and investment relations with third countries or regional blocks.
6. Safety is our first priority
European-controlled ships are consistently ranked highly in terms of safety records. We regard crew and ship safety as our first priority, and we are always working with the crew, regulators, customers, ship designers, terminals, suppliers, technology providers and others to do better. Conditions and circumstances are constantly evolving, such as the use of new fuels like LNG and continuous digitalisation, making it necessary to constantly improve and modify our safety procedures and criteria to maintain our safety standards.