14.08.2020, 11:32 Uhr | German Verband Deutscher Schiffsausrüster e.V. (VDS)
German EU Presidency 2020: EU-wide support through well-coordinated, calm and considered policy
Article for OCEAN blog by J. Pfeiffer, Chair of the German OCEAN member Verband Deutscher Schiffsausrüster e.V. (VDS)
  "The German ship supply industry requests further EU support measures that enable a fast and effective crisis recovery management across the entire German and European maritime industry", Chair J. Pfeiffer said. 

Effective measures include, in particular, appropriate support for shipping, shipbuilding and its supply industry, port management, maritime logistics and, last but not least, ship suppliers. We need compensation for the hard cuts and losses of recent times.  We need quick, effective and suitable support measures that allow us to restart "normal" operations, structures and processes swiftly.
Hamburg Habour at sunset

Even with COVID-19 in mind, don't forget other challenges

COVID-19 is, without a doubt, the biggest challenge facing the German maritime sector today. Despite this, we should be mindful that the COVID-19 crisis did not stop all the other numerous other essential challenges facing the maritime industry today:

  • protecting our climate
  • being at the forefront of innovations in shipping and transportation
  • a step-by-step move towards digitalization (with consideration of existing structures)
  • the on-going need to reduce administrative burden in shipping and ship supply.

The latter is particularly important when it comes to individual support measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Here we need swift and hassle-free support.

While the time for EU action is now, collaborate and execute with care

The EU needs to act. We cannot wait. The broad challenges are listed above. But let's not act in haste! We advocate for a prudent EU policy, carefully oriented towards close European cooperation with the explicit commitment to achieving progress through common, EU-wide goals.  A joint, EU-wide solution is better than a single, ill-coordinated approach.

"The German leadership around Angela Merkel has shown many times how powerful and successful a calm and targeted approach can be even in times of crisis. The era of actionism is over, even is problems must be tackled quickly and, above all, together," says Pfeiffer.

Hand-in-hand maritime logistics needed

As a maritime service provider, ship suppliers are known for their ability to deliver the broadest range of products in the shorted period – "just in time". This only works where there are smooth functioning processes and structures.  All aspected of maritime logistics need to work hand-in-hand; all steps in the supply chain should run effortlessly. It is not only a question for Germany and our maritime zones.

A lack of simple and truly harmonized EU rules

German ship suppliers deliver to vessels EU and worldwide – whenever and wherever they decide to call a harbour. Our trucks cross EU internal borders every day, many times over! Unfortunately, the EU still lacks a harmonized application of EU legislation across many areas that matter to us. This is costly, causes delays and confusion. It limits our true potential! We believe that the EU German Council Presidency can set important impulses here. We would like to see Germany advocate for more straightforward procedures in Europe's maritime logistics and insist on uniform application of the law in the individual EU member states. If ever there was a time to support our maritime industry, it is undoubtedly now!

The German Verband Deutscher Schiffsausrüster e.V. (VDS) and OCEAN, the European Ship Suppliers Organization, stand ready to support the German EU Presidency and we look forward towards working together. If we seize this moment, we can set the EU on the right course to ensure that ship supplies can continue to be carried out on schedule anywhere in the EU.  This would be good for European ship supply. This would good for the EU economy. This would good for the EU citizen. 

Lets set sail towards these goals – calm, collected, committed and above all TOGETHER!