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Major event marks start of new year for European shipyards

On 8 February 2006, the Community of European Shipyards’ Associations (CESA) and the European Marine Equipment Council (EMEC) held a joint reception to celebrate the new year. Highlights included addresses by high-ranking EU officials and the delivery of the WATERBORNETP ‘Vision 2020’ document.

Image of te CESA and EMEC event

“2005 was a very good year," said EMEC president Govert Hamers. "We are in the midst of a worldwide shipbuilding boom, and my expectation is that 2006 will be even better. European shipyards now lead the world market in terms of turnover, tallying more than €26 billion in 2005, and accounting for 250 00 jobs. We now command a 35% share of the world market and there is no doubt that research and development have been a key to our success," he said.

Addressing more than 200 guests, EU Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik said, “You have used technology to transform European shipbuilding into one of the world’s leading knowledge-based sectors. As you know, the EU, under the Lisbon strategy, has set precisely that goal for the Union as a whole, to become the world’s leading knowledge-based economy. We believe this is an essential part of ensuring our future prosperity and your industry is serving as a great example to the rest of us.”

Investment key for a key industry

Image of Janez Potočnik
Janez Potočnik

Spelling out the priorities for maritime research under the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme for RTD (FP7), Potočnik underlined the importance of three aspects: research; education; and innovation. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said, “and an important part of that is building a strong investment base. The 3% target, putting 3% of GDP back into research, involves a major new commitment from the private sector. The maritime sector is a strategic sector for all of Europe, and while we cannot say that investment will definitely lead to success, we can definitely say that no investment will lead to no success.”

Member of European Parliament and former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek said, “The words contained in the Lisbon agenda are very simple, but making the goal a reality is complicated. The shipbuilding industry is well on its way, and the contribution of the EU in terms of support for research, integration and better coordination has been very important indeed. I think we have already demonstrated as Europeans that we are very good at research, at coming up with new ideas and new technologies. Now we must turn our attention to competition, to transforming our ideas and research results into commercial results.”

Project profile: INTERSHIP

The CESA event featured a presentation of the recently-launched EU-funded INTERSHIP project (Integrated collaborative design and production of cruise vessels, passenger ships and RoPax), aimed at increasing the competitiveness of EU shipbuilders by integrating tools and methods for design and manufacturing of complex one-of-a-kind vessels.

INTERSHIP will enable shipyard engineers to better apply leading edge technologies with impacts on environmental performance, safety, comfort and cost efficiency over the complete life cycle of a complex ship. It will also focus on improving vertical integration between shipyards, owners, suppliers and classification societies, and horizontal co-operation between EU shipyards.

Partners say INTERSHIP will make a significant contribution to meeting the goals of the European maritime sector, as described by CESA, the European Shipbuilders Association in its report entitled ‘LeaderSHIP 2015’.

WATER BORNETP presents future vision

Image of Jerzy Buzek receiving ‘Vision 2020’ report
Jerzy Buzek receives ‘Vision 2020’ report

The event culminated with the presentation by CESA President Patrick Boissier of the report ‘Vision 2020 – Waterborne transport & operations a key asset for Europe’s development and future’.

The document, which describes a medium and long term vision of where the industry should be by the year 2020, was prepared by WATER BORNETP, one of a series of transport Technology Platforms, including ERRAC, ERTRAC and ACARE, launched by the European Commission under FP6.

“Globalisation was a reality in the shipbuilding industry long before anyone else knew what the term meant,” said Boissier, “and we think we have done a pretty good job in responding to it, standing now as world leaders in our sector. The challenges we have been facing for decades are today the same challenges facing European society as a whole. As we have outlined in our ‘Vision 2020’, we believe there are many more challenges to come, but if we can join forces and prepare ourselves well, we will be successful.”