Bruxelles - European shipbuilding and ship equipment association SEA Europe is calling for government aid to help the industry weather the COVID-19 downturn, citing temporary shutdowns, order cancellations - particularly for new cruise ships - and project delays: "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," said Kjersti Kleven, SEA Europe’s chairwoman. "If the EU fails to adopt tailor-made sectoral policies and financial support... Europe risks to lose its strategic maritime technology sector to Asia."
With most of Europe in lockdown, the EU maritime equipment, ship repair and shipbuilding sectors have been hit hard, SEA Europe said. At many firms, production has been reduced or stopped and workers are furloughed. Top shipbuilding conglomerates Navantia, Naval Group and Fincantieri have all halted or scaled back activity at their yards. With revenue down, many smaller companies face liquidity problems or lack of access to credit.
To make matters worse, many yards' shipowner customers are facing financial difficulty themselves, and many are postponing or cancelling orders.(READ MORE)