Germany is Europes biggest shipbuilding nation
German shipbuilding head Werner Lüken said Wednesday (18 May) that "land is in sight" for his troubled industry but that it was still "too early to do without life jackets."
Tom Todd writes: The comment came at the AGM of the German shipbuilding association VSM in Hamburg. Lüken headed one of the country's leading shipyards, Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, until last year.
Germany is Europe's biggest shipbuilding nation but lags well behind global Asian leaders in terms of production. The VSM said despite positive signs, it had still not overcome the effects of recession.
It said the extent and speed of the crisis had been unparalleled and had triggered an emergency stop in German shipbuilding in 2009. The first signs of recovery appeared in 2010 but restructuring and production re-orientation were still the focus. Last year 24 new orders were taken - far fewer than existing production capacity allows for and most were special and innovative types of ships, like offshore wind farm vessels, ferries, cruise ships and mega yachts.
In 2010 the Germans delivered 49 ships of about 1 million cgt worth nearly 4.7 billion. That was much lower than existing production capacity and compared with 54 ships of about 0.7 million cgt worth 2.6 billion delivered in 2009. Repair and conversion yards saw earnings drop to 0.9 billion from 1.1 billion in 2009.
Lüken urged the German government and the EU to oppose unfair market intervention by some countries and to develop sanctioning measures within the context of bilateral agreements. He said equal and binding conditions must be set for fair worldwide competition in shipbuilding.