Some 800 stakeholders from the business sector, trade unions, academia, research, government and the administration will be meeting on 22-23 May 2019 for the 11th National Maritime Conference. Under the motto “Deutschland maritim global - smart - green”, they will be discussing the potential and challenges as Germany aims to maintain the technological lead and international competitiveness of its maritime sector.
In view of the widespread public calls for climate-friendly and environmentally-friendly shipping, the issues of green shipping and the maritime mobility transition are of key importance for the sector. This area offers considerable market potential for Germany’s world-beating industry. With regard to its “global” focus, the National Maritime Conference is to send out a signal for open world trade and a fair multilateral set of rules in times of growing protectionism. The participants will be discussing the main maritime challenges in five forums (1. Shipping, 2. Marine technology, 3. Offshore wind power, 4. Shipbuilding including suppliers and navy, 5. Ports). The results of the work are to feed into the Federal Government’s Maritime Agenda 2025, which was adopted at the beginning of 2017.
Estimates place the annual turnover at up to €50 billion and the number of jobs which are directly or indirectly dependent on the maritime industry at up to 400,000. This makes it one of the most important sectors of the German economy. The industry is characterised by its modern, high-tech shipbuilding and shipbuilding supply industries – many of which are well-positioned in the global markets –, its globally leading shipping companies – particularly container shipping companies –, its high-performance port and logistics industries, its innovative marine engineering industry, and its renowned maritime research and training facilities.
Despite difficult global market conditions, the maritime industry remains a key sector for the future of the German economy. It can help us find answers to the important questions of our time such as how we can transition to a sustainable energy supply, mitigate climate change, protect our environment, and ensure a secure supply of resources. Among the most important sectors of the maritime industry are maritime shipping, ports, shipbuilding, the shipbuilding supply industry, marine engineering, offshore wind energy and maritime research and development. The German government seeks to adopt an integrated policy approach that helps safeguard jobs, economic output and training and thus strengthen the German maritime industry as a whole.
Maritime Agenda 2025
Against this background, the Federal Cabinet approved the on 11 January 2017. This strategy, which was developed jointly by several different ministries, provides the Federal Government with a long-term framework that will make it possible to shape the future of the maritime industry in a targeted manner, and strengthen Germany’s role as a maritime hub.
The Maritime Agenda 2025 sets out a wide range of measures to be deployed across nine fields of action of the maritime industry. The government also seeks to work with the business community to draw up a roadmap that describes the priorities of their applied research funding programmes and how the innovation capacity of SMEs – which form the backbone of the maritime industry – is to be strengthened. This is to help companies maintain technology leadership and tap new growth markets. Digitisation is another key focus of the Maritime Agenda 2025. High-speed broadband connections are to be expanded, not least in ports, and flagship projects (e.g. real-time services in navigation) provided with funding.
A special focus will also be placed on sustainability in maritime transport. Here, the Federal Government will provide targeted funding for green fuels and ship propulsion systems. The Maritime Agenda also calls for the development of international environmental standards as this will help to prevent distortions of competition within the industry.
The task of the Federal Government’s maritime coordinator, who has been based in the Economic Affairs Ministry since 2000, is to coordinate all measures for strengthening Germany’s competitiveness in the fields of shipbuilding, marine technology, offshore wind energy, shipping and ports.
In the run-up to the 10th National Maritime Conference, the Federal Government adopted its 5th report on the development and future prospects of Germany’s maritime industry on 8 February 2017. The report describes the current situation in the maritime industry. It also provides an overview of the policies adopted by the Federal Government on maritime shipping and ports, shipbuilding and marine engineering, offshore wind power, and marine research.