The shipbuilding sector has sustained a major blow from
production halts, temporary layoffs as well as arising liquidity issues, Sea
Europe, a shipyards’ and maritime equipment association, said.
Furthermore, orders for new ships and retrofitting are being
postponed amid cost-cutting measures employed by owners.
“Europe risks to lose its strategic maritime technology
sector to Asia, whilst European shipyards and maritime equipment manufacturers
are key for the European Green Deal, for Europe’s Blue Economy and mobility,
for Europe’s defence, security and autonomy and for Europe’s access to seas and
trade of goods and passengers,” says Kjersti Kleven, SEA Europe’s chairwoman.
“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.”
SEA Europe welcomed the recent horizontal initiatives from
the European Commission in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as they try to
minimize the impact of this crisis for all European industries.
However, the association urged the commission to introduce
sectoral policies and financial support tailored to the specific needs of
Europe’s shipyards and maritime equipment industry in order to mitigate the
severe consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and safeguard the survival of the
Europe’s maritime technology sector is particularly
vulnerable as it is considerably export-oriented and highly dependent on global
macro-economic trends, trade volumes, and market sentiments.