Talking global competitiveness in Brussels

On the first day of the first European Shipping Week in Brussels, the Norwegian Shipowners´ Association organised a seminar called «Shipping in a Globalised World». Hosted by two members of the European Parliament, Nils Torvalds from Finland and Christofer Fjellner from Sweden, the seminar discussed the role of shipping in the European economy and how globalisation impacts the sector.

Both MEPs opened the seminar by underlining the importance of talking more about shipping in EU policy circles:
«We all know that shipping is the blood veins of trade, also within EU, but it is a big job to put it on top of the EU agenda.», MEP Torvalds stated.
MEP Fjellner called for a vocal EU shipping sector: «We need more lobbying from the shipping community, not less. Even myself, sitting on the European Parliament trade committee, I am not familiar enough with the contribution of shipping to the European GDP.» 
Sturla Henriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners´Association, talked about the sizeable role shipping plays in the European economy: «Europe controls 40% of the fleet, and is world leading - both in size and being the most advanced fleet.»
Professor Kjell Nordstrøm, co-author of the best-selling book «Funky Business», called on the sector to use this to position itself ahead of growing international competition:
“As Asia and Africa grows, Europe most focus on its competitive advantage: innovation and creativity. Where is the Über of shipping?” Nordstrøm asked, referring to the rapid-growing online taxi-service.
Henriksen supplemented that «…there are also mega trends like weak global growth, climate change and security concerns which will impact the sector in the long run. We must understand these trends, and prepare viable responses. The business sector cannot rely on governments to resolve such issues alone. We must work for solutions that promote a global level playing field based on the high standards that the European shipping sector subscribes to»
The panel discussion concluded that the growing competition with Asia should inspire the European shipping sector and the EU institutions alike to increase their efforts towards making the maritime sector ever more competitive.
The seminar was moderated by Emily von Südow