Germany as a Maritime Location Endangered: VDR

By George Backwell
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Reighstag: File photo

Germany, which currently is home to the world’s biggest container vessel fleet, will in future have fewer small shipping firms as European banks avoid the industry and American and Asian financiers focus on bigger peers, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) cited by shipping industry trade publication 'Maritime London' in its latest newsletter.

As shipowners face pressure to put more fuel-efficient vessels into service to get better rates, they will need to team up with peers in alliances or mergers to tap financing sources, according to PwC’s Claus Brandt. Smaller shipping companies will bid farewell to the market, because they don’t have access to financing sources. Only companies of a certain size will get foreign capital.

Reacting to the report, Ralf Nagel, chief executive of the German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) considered that in the sixth year of the global maritime shipping crisis, the competitiveness of Germany as a maritime location is more endangered than ever before. The capacity utilisation of vessels remains completely unsatisfactory. The earnings situation continues to be extremely difficult, especially in the container shipping segment.

According to the VDR, the outsourcing of corporate activities abroad needs to be taken into account by an increasing number of companies owing to the immense cost pressure in the location of Germany. It says that personnel are particularly impacted as is the need to organise cargo for the vessels and maintenance work on the fleet.

Claus Brandt of PwC thought that the promotion and support of Germany’s maritime industry in the past has not been sufficient to offset European competition.

Source: Maritime London

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