The plan was announced last week by the European Commission.
The SEA Europe association represents shipyards and maritime equipment suppliers.
With Fit for 55, the EU adopted an ambitious plan to reduce emissions from the waterborne sector. Achieving this will rely on significant innovation and investment in new ships and clean technologies. CLIA and SEA Europe said Europe has an opportunity to maintain its position as a global leader in complex shipbuilding, including cruise ship building, and in advanced maritime equipment manufacturing as well as to regain some other market segments.
Cruise ships dominate European yards' orderbook
Cruise ship building represents around 80% of the orderbook of European yards. According to CLIA/SEA Europe, with more than 78 cruise ships on order for the next five years, this represents €45b direct investment in Europe. (Seatrade's orderbook counts more than 60 firmly contracted vessels, not letters of intent or options.)
'The shipbuilding industry is at the heart of clean-tech and industrial innovation in Europe and, as such, needs to be recognized and included in the Commission’s strategy,' CLIA Europe Director General Marie-Caroline Laurent said.
Investing in innovation to reach net zero
'Today, more than 93% of the world’s oceangoing cruise ships are built in Europe,' she continued. 'Cruise lines are making significant investments now in partnership with European shipyards and equipment manufacturers equipping ships with latest technologies including fuel cells, batteries and new propulsion solutions, driving the innovation that will deliver net zero emission shipping.'
Added Christophe Tytgat, secretary general, SEA Europe: 'Europe’s maritime technology industry is a strategic key enabler of the EU’s political ambitions in terms of defense, European Green Deal, EU Digital Agenda, Blue Economy. Including this industry in the Green Deal Industrial Plan for clean tech and industrial innovation on the road to net zero will have many benefits, not only for the industry’s global competitiveness but also for Europe’s maritime resilience and strategic maritime autonomy.'
The Green Deal Industrial Plan covers four key pillars: regulatory environment, financing, skills and trade.
With new propulsion solutions and the use of alternative fuels among the biggest opportunity to decarbonize shipping, CLIA and SEA Europe are calling for the maritime sector to be included in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework and in EU fundings.
CLIA and SEA Europe support the inclusion of the cruise maritime sector and maritime technology industry in the Net-Zero Industry Act and the full consideration of the sector in the European and national schemes for renewable energy deployment mechanisms.