Europe remains global fleet's flagship

02 Apr 2014

“Although shipping has seldom been in the limelight, it never ceased to play a substantial role in Europe’s economy” commented Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General on today's release of the Oxford Economics study on the economic value of the EU shipping industry. He added: “The EU shipping industry continues to stay its ground in these hard times against fierce competition from third country shipping centres, particularly those in Asia and the Middle East. It remains today a world leader and an important source of revenue and jobs in Europe.”

The EU indeed remains the frontrunner of the world’s shipping industry’s. The Oxford Economics report shows that the EU controlled fleet (which includes ships whose ultimate ownership or control lies in an EU country, but which may be flagged in a different country) currently represents around 40 per cent of world’s gross tonnage. What is more, between the start of 2005 and the start of 2014, the EU controlled fleet expanded by more than 70 per cent in tonnage. The EU also controls 60 per cent of the world’s container ships in gross tonnage terms. Within the EU controlled fleet, the strongest growth between 2005 and 2014 was recorded amongst offshore vessels.

As for its total economic impact, in 2012, the European shipping industry is estimated to have contributed €145 billion to GDP, employed 2.3 million workers and generated tax revenues of €41 billion. The industry directly employs more workers than the aviation sector. Between 2004 and 2012 direct employment grew by 22%. Moreover, EU shipping is far more productive in terms of GDP generated per worker than the EU average.

The Oxford Economics study also highlights the causal link between EU controlled fleets that have managed to grow despite a particularly stormy recent period and EU-approved state aid measures to support shipping, most notably in the form of tonnage tax. According to estimates, the abovementioned economic contribution of EU shipping would have been much less prominent, possibly half as important as the one recorded in 2012 if those state aid measures had not been introduced by several EU Member States since the late 1990s.

ECSA will present the results of the study on the economic value of the EU shipping industry today at a lunch organised in the European Parliament and a seminar held in the presence of Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas.

The Oxford Economics study on the economic value of the EU shipping industry can be found here

For more information please contact:

Mr Patrick Verhoeven
ECSA Secretary General 
Phone +32 2 510 61 26


Mr Dimitrios Banas
Manager – Communication and Information, Social Affairs
Phone +32 2 510 61 22