The shipbuilding industry deals with the production of larger (mainly seagoing) vessels intended for the merchant fleet (cargo or passenger transport), the off-shore energy industry or military purposes. It also includes products and services supplied for the building, conversion, and maintenance of these ships. The European Commission promotes the industry’s development and addresses competitiveness issues it faces.
The European shipbuilding industry is a dynamic and competitive sector. It is important from both an economic and social perspective. It is also linked to other sectors including transport, security, energy, research, and the environment.
Shipbuilding is an important and strategic industry in a number of EU countries. Shipyards contribute significantly to regional industrial infrastructure and national security interests (military shipbuilding).
The European shipbuilding industry is the global leader in the construction of complex vessels, such as cruise ships, ferries, mega-yachts, and dredgers. It also has a strong position in the building of submarines and other naval vessels.
The European marine equipment industry is a world leader for a wide range of products ranging from propulsion systems, large diesel engines, environmental, and safety systems, to cargo handling and electronics.
The sector faces fierce international competition from countries like China and South Korea. The industry has also suffered from the absence of effective global trade rules and state supported over investment. This is because shipyards offer a wide range of technologies, employ a significant number of workers, and generate foreign currency income, due to the fact the global shipbuilding market is dollar-based.
The shipbuilding industry impacts upon various other policy areas, in particular research and innovation, intellectual property, maritime clusters, safety, and the environment. The Commission also takes further policy action in these areas, including conducting studies on key issues.