The European Network of Maritime Clusters (ENMC), who attended part of the event in Brussels, fully supports both the letter and the spirit of the “Joint industry statement on the mid-term review of the EU's Maritime Transport Policy” which has been issued by several maritime/shipping associations on the occasion of the European Shipping Week. Indeed this communication rightfully underlines the importance of the whole maritime cluster, and especially the shipping sector, for the well-being of European citizens and Europe as a whole. Of course that had been clear for European officials at least since the Limassol declaration in October 2012, and no doubt that the Oxford Economics study on “the economic value of the EU shipping industry” cleverly commissioned by ECSA is a good indicator reinforcing the concept of “Blue growth”. And as advocated by the ENMC it also illustrates the need of a more exhaustive homogenous statistical database, measuring in a valid and meaningful way the impact - and leverage capacity - of the whole maritime cluster in and for the European Union. It being clear that such a study/database - to be updated every two years - should independently and homogenously cover all maritime sectors (shipping but also shipbuilding, fishing, classification, insurance, finance, brokerage, offshore…). And hopefully this objective should soon be reached if the European Commission agrees finally, as per ENMC request, to give itself the means to go ahead.
As for the maritime transportation itself, it is indeed the facilitator of trade since 90% of goods traded worldwide go by sea. And it is obvious that, given the strong commitment of European shipowners to quality in terms of sustainable development and safety, it is essential to back their efforts to retain a quality fleet within European jurisdiction and operated by European seafarers whenever possible given the context of international fierce competition. Bearing this in mind, and recalling that former officers fill number of jobs onshore which are crucial, it is of paramount importance to have a level playing field which has to go through high standards regulation at international level. As it is essential - especially for environment protection - to boost shortsea shipping which will always be the most environmental mean of transportation. Last but not least, and more generally, the European Union is duty-bound to give regulatory and fiscal certainty to the shipping sector, first and foremost to have a sympathetic ear for the justified and virtuous concerns unanimously expressed by seven major shipping federations.
Indeed the ENMC namely considers transverse positions as the closest of the expression of the general interest. Which by the way is also the reason why the ENMC wants the European Commission to support its long march towards an integrated European Maritime Cluster, so as to tackle more and more cross-sectorial maritime challenges.
Communiqué de l'ENMC, 08/03/2015