Denmark and Sweden are pursuing interesting projects to grow their respective maritime sectors
Denmark has a large and active maritime cluster numbering more than 100,000 persons, according to the Danish Maritime Industry association. Of these, 40,000 people are directly employed in the industry. Led by the requirements of AP Moller’s shipping divisions for a continuous stream of maritime personnel, other shipping companies are able to tap into a supply of crew and officers trained in the Royal Denmark Navy as part of their national service and, in some cases, full-time commissions. The different commercial strands of the maritime hub come together under a not-for-profit organisation, The Danish Maritime Cluster (DKMK).
The DKMK’s aim is to maintain growth in the sector, to secure maritime jobs at a national and international level. It works with technical colleges and universities, maritime associations, businesses and authorities to support maritime education projects from degree level to PhD funding. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which includes the majority of shipping companies in Denmark, are able to utilise into these resources to support a range of business-related projects.
The DKMK is supported by the government through the Danish Business Authority, and at a local government level by the Capital Region of Denmark authority. Maritime law projects are organised through the University of Copenhagen and funded in part through the EU European Social Fund, and via the EU European Regional Development Fund.
In May 2016, the Danish government established a Maritime Strategy Team, tasked with developing recommendations to support Danish maritime competitiveness through to 2025. The Team presented its recommendations to the Minister for Industry, Business and Growth in April 2017.
There were 37 recommendations, among which digitalisation was a priority. The aim is to develop Denmark as a frontrunner is autonomous shipping, cyber security, and a common European port reporting platform. New start-ups and SMEs are to be encouraged in these sectors by building a simple legal and corporate framework to ease the passage from idea, to development and production.
A key proposal has been to abolish the registration fee for vessels under the Danish International Register of Shipping (DIS). Additional support for owners involves a proposal for stable and predictable tax rules.
To encourage the recruitment of officers it is no longer a requirement that a training placement be agreed prior to start of training for degree-level professional qualifications. Furthermore, it has been proposed that state-owned ships should be used for career recruitment purposes and for commercial visits from Chinese delegations. These efforts are to be coordinated through a maritime ambassador.
Zero carbon Swedish shipping
Sweden’s main efforts on the maritime front in recent years have been to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. The shipping industry is fully behind a scheme to introduce zero carbon shipping by 2050. These efforts were recognised in a recent OECD International Transport Forum report titled Decarbonising Maritime Transport: The Case of Sweden. The report highlights the efforts of Swedish shipowners operating in the tanker sector. Terntank drew praise for its introduction of LNG-powered tankers, and Furetank for its dual-fuel tankers.
Other initiatives include the Gothia Tanker Alliance, which allows for the unloading or loading of tankers closest to relevant transport services. Six different tanker owners form the Gothia Tanker Alliance, pooling 32 tankers. As well as the traditional pool function as a platform for vessel sharing and joint negotiation of port services, the alliance has worked on a standard tanker design. This pooling of resources has allowed for an innovative design that might have been beyond the capabilities of the individual companies.
For example, the Terntank vessel, Tarnvag, has a catamiser installed on the main and auxiliary engines. This combined unit recovers waste heat and reduces NOx, and was developed by GESAB of Gothenburg. The alliance is supported by understanding clients, who are willing to enter into slightly higher charter rates on long-term charters for the innovative tankers. Terntank was able to order LNG-powered tankers on the back of 15-year charter agreements with Preem, the largest fuel supplier in Sweden, and the privately-owned Finnish petrol station operator, ST1.