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Hamburger Hafen / Containerschiff © / Christian Spahrbier

IHK survey notes positive development in maritime industry

Latest survey of north German industry

The business climate index in shipping has risen from 46 to 151 points, according to the IHK-Nord’s autumn survey. Dr. Wolfgang Blank, CEO of IHK Nord, said: “The boom in the cruise ship sector in particular is contributing to the positive mood in the German specialty shipbuilding sector. However, we look anxiously towards China. Beijing is aiming to leave the mass container freight business and to enter the high-tech specialty shipbuilding sector. This trend will pose new challenges for German companies in future.” A lack of skilled workers is the main risk, according to shipyards.

IHK Nord calls for “Planning Acceleration Act”

The business climate index among port industries rose by 35 points to 126.3 points. Blank noted: “Handling at German seaports increased 1.5 per cent to 150.1 million tons in the first half of 2017. Companies are also benefiting from the economic momentum here.” Business on the German coast remains challenging amid tough competition and a loss of market shares from the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp in the west. This has been caused by both restructuring alliances in container shipping and location policies. IHK Nord has called for an acceleration act for traffic infrastructure. “We still hope that fairways on the Elbe, Weser and Ems will be expanded rapidly. The port industries need clarity swiftly,” Blank stressed.

Shipping companies largely stable

The business climate index among shipping companies dropped slightly from 113.9 to 112.4 points. “We hope that the worst times are behind us and that the sector will gradually reach calmer waters,” said Blank. Since 2008, the German merchant fleet has decreased by around 1,000 to 2,720 ships amid the ongoing crisis caused by overcapacities in tonnage and problems financing ships. Shipping companies have also expressed concern about energy and raw material prices.

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