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German shipowning undergoing 'significant change' as crisis drags on

German shipowning undergoing 'significant change' as crisis drags on
The German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) says the country's shipowing sector is “undergoing significant change" due to the unexpectedly long crisis.

“Smaller and medium-sized shipowners in particular are increasingly forming alliances and achieving success by raising joint financing and boosting their overall efficiency. For some, the issue is sheer survival,” Michael Behrendt, president of the VDR, said in its annual report.

“We must make every conceivable effort to secure our position among the leading shipping nations of the world,” said Behrendt. “After all, there are more than 480,000 jobs at stake, all of which depend on Germany‘s medium-sized shipping industry.”

This was illustrated by Reederei NSB’s recent talks of flagging out of the German registry and cutting 500 jobs because of its "no longer economically feasible” labour requirements. 

Citing the EUR1bn tax and social security contribution made by German shipowners, Ralf Nagel, VDR ceo, also criticised the new sulphur regulations to be enforced in the North Sea and Baltic ECAs from January 2015, describing them as “an unfair burden on our industry”.

“The contribution the shipping industry makes to growth and prosperity will be in jeopardy when new uncoordinated environmental regulations are introduced in rapid succession and are applicable to European companies only,” said Nagel. “We therefore need a fair balance of interests to ensure that quality shipping made in Germany and Europe is to continue playing a major role in the world.”