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Hamburg initiative boosts German maritime navigation

Legislative initiative passes Bundestag and Bundesrat. Employers allowed to retain wage tax. "Advantage for entire maritime economy"

The maritime sector is an innovative future industry and of crucial importance to Germany as an export nation. However, as fewer ships with German flags are sailing the high seas these days, training and employment are dwindling. And there are fears that nautical know-how could be lost. Hamburg’s senate is trying to fight this development. Last September, it introduced a draft bill that would temporarily raise the wage tax deduction for seafarers from 40 per cent at present to 100 per cent. The majority of German states agreed Friday to the measure after the Bundestag approved the motion a day earlier, Hamburg’s Department of the Economy announced.

German flag more attractive for shipping companies

Following approval by the European Commission, employers who operate their own or chartered merchant ships, may deduct and retain all of the wage tax that crew members are paid during their employment aboard ships. This lowers the existing costs of fleets flying under the German flag considerably. Thus, the German flag becomes more attractive for shipyards and the employment conditions under the flag improve significantly.

Turn of shipping companies

Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for the Economy, said: “Today, we have made an important step towards raising the competitiveness of the German flag and securing seafaring know-how for Germany’s entire maritime economy. Hamburg and German states had made a major contribution to further developing the “Maritime Alliance”, Horch added. In view of clearly higher financial support, shipping companies have a responsibility to promote training and employment in the sector.

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