SEA Europe, the shipyards and maritime equipment association, has warned that Europe risks losing its place as maritime hub as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, SEA Europe said there was am urgent need for “urgent, tailor-made” support at EU level in order to safeguard Europe’s strategic maritime industry.
Europe’s maritime technology sector has been hit very hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, SEA Europe said in a statement.
Adding that Europe’s maritime technology sector will feel the real negative consequences from the pandemic more acutely in the medium and long-term.
This is because shipbuilding and maritime equipment manufacturing are export-oriented businesses and very much depend on global macro-economic trends, trade volumes, and market sentiments.
Moreover, shipbuilding is characterized by very long lead production times, with a two to three years’ time laps between the ship’s contracting and delivery on average, and heavily depends on a well-functioning supply chain, as 70-80% of the ship’s value derives from the supply chain.
The association said there is a big risk that Europe will lose business to Asia if the EU fails to adopt tailored-made sectoral policies and financial measures, including state aid, in support of Europe’s maritime technology sector.
The damage, according to the association, could lead to more than a million jobs in Europe lost.
“Such a loss would make Europe entirely dependent on Asia for the design, building, repair, retrofitting, and equipment of civilian ships, with devastating effects for Europe’s autonomy, defence and security, maritime economy and workforce,” Kjersti Kleven, SEA Europe’s chairwoman.