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Maritime industries

Shipbuilding industry related policies

Freight carrier ship © European Commission

The EU has designed a number of policies to improve the shipbuilding sector.

The shipbuilding industry impacts on various policies, in particular research and innovation, intellectual property, maritime clusters, safety and the environment.

Triggered by the sector's LeaderSHIP 2015 strategy or even integral parts of the strategy itself, several policy developments and implementations have been established.

Environmental policies and safety

Shipbuilding is considered a comparatively clean industry and maritime freight transport is the cleanest mode in terms of tonnes/km. Nevertheless, given the total number of global ship movements and the increasing dependency of global trade on shipping goods, emissions by ships are now being focussed on regarding general emission reductions.

For details see the page on the EU policy on ship emissions.

The increased number of operational ships requires higher safety standards in order to avoid environmentally hazardous incidents and accidents.

Shipbuilders and maritime equipment suppliers are part of the solution to the challenge of reducing emissions from ships.

Funding and support frameworks for R&D and innovation

Europe accounts for almost all ship innovations made possible by the successful and continued development and application of innovation and research. That is why the Seventh Framework Programme is important for the sector.

Research in the shipbuilding industry has already been supported in the 6th research framework programme, for example in the INTERSHIP project.

In the context of the 7th research framework programme, support from Community funds may be granted towards research costs for certain projects of the shipbuilding industry. Projects are selected following a competitive evaluation in response to a formal call published on the CORDIS website. Further details can also be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/transport/index_en.cfm and http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html.

The Framework on State aid to shipbuilding contains a specific provision allowing State aid to be granted to innovative projects, that carry a risk of technological or industrial failure, as a means of encouraging greater efficiency and competitiveness of Community yards (see Article 3.3.1. concerning aid to research, development and innovation). The Commission recently took a decision to prolong the validity of this Framework and hence, of the innovation aid provision, by three years, until 31 December 2011.

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