The Maritime transport sector is vital to the lives of Europeans and is of great strategic importance to the European economy. EU shipping is a solid contributor to the European agenda of jobs and growth, and one of its major strategic asset.
To ensure a thriving EU shipping industry, a strong skills base and the development of a world-class maritime cluster, ECSA has proposed a Maritime Growth Plan for “Sustainable Maritime Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness” as a strategic framework providing a holistic and common EU vision for actions to be taken at EU, national and local levels.
Shipping directly employs over 640,000 workers at sea and on shore, and supports over 1.4 million workers through indirect and induced employment. These professionals possess a wealth of maritime knowledge, skills and heritage unique in the world. If Europe is to retain its pre-eminence in global shipping, this know-how needs to be cherished and cultivated. The sector must therefore attract a sufficient number of quality new entrants and retain experienced seafarers, including women seafarers and other under-represented groups.
“European shipping and the broader maritime sector are strategically important for the EU – in terms of its contributions to trade, geopolitical role and as an important source of employment. With this in mind, it is high time to have a jobs and growth strategy that recognises the strategic importance of Europe’s maritime know-how,” said Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General.
“Through this plan, European shipowners stand committed to take forward the objectives of ‘developing an attractive, smart, safe, social and sustainable quality shipping’ and a ‘world-class maritime cluster’, identified by Member States for the EU’s maritime transport policy. ECSA calls upon all actors in the sector, at EU, national and local levels, to join forces to reach these objectives and achieve meaningful and viable solutions without compromising the competitiveness of the sector.”
The preservation of a European seafaring workforce and the creation of job opportunities through the increased attractiveness of the sector to the seafarers of today and tomorrow should be amongst our wider objectives. Only with concerted actions and a common goal will we achieve the world-class shipping industry and maritime cluster fit to face the current and future challenges and opportunities.
“ECSA’s member associations and member companies are fully committed to implementing this plan and will engage with stakeholders at national level to develop the appropriate mix of measures according to the national circumstances. We will also continue to work with EU-level stakeholders to take forward this strategic framework over the coming legislature,” said Tim Springett, ECSA’s spokesperson to the Social Dialogue Committee for Maritime Transport.
“We are strongly convinced this will provide the EU with the right course of action needed to ensure it delivers over the coming legislature on its goals of a more socially sustainable industry by enhancing the training, competitiveness and employment of EU seafarers.”
As other major shipping centres around the world gain ground with intensive support from their governments, preserving and improving the existing policy framework is essential to keeping the EU shipping industry competitive.
The presence and development of European maritime industries and, by extension, of employment opportunities and the retention of skills and expertise, requires a globally competitive EU shipping sector. It is therefore important that any measures taken in the EU context do not jeopardise the competitiveness of the EU fleet or EU shipowners.