In their meeting on 2 April, ECSA’s Board of Directors thanked all maritime professionals across the whole shipping industry for their dedication and sacrifices made to continue the supply of goods and equipment in these times of crisis but it also issued a strong statement on the perilous state of the continent’s shipping community.
« European shipping has reached a breaking point, » said Claes Berglund, ECSA´s President. « On the surface, trade continues to flow. Below the surface, our crews are being challenged enormously. »
« Furthermore, financing really needs to be kept open for shipping companies in order for them to cope with immediate liquidity problems to avoid redundancies, to help refinance their loans, or have the possibility to suspend their loan instalments and interest, and in parallel extend the term of their loans. Without the authorities and banks stepping in on this, many companies will not survive the crisis and Europe’s share of global shipping is going to plunge. »
Mr. Bergland, a director at Stena, also had a special thought for the ferry industry, saying, « One of the hardest-hit segments is passenger transport. Maritime passenger transport has always served Europeans living on islands or in coastal regions. For them, it is their daily mode of transport for work, life and trade. Many of our companies are currently downsizing to sustain their business. These essential services will disappear if nothing is done to save them. »
ECSA considers that this unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented reactions stating in its press release, «for Europe to ensure the survival of its strategically important maritime industry, more concerted and targeted actions will be required. It therefore calls on all the European institutions to swiftly adopt a targeted rescue and recovery plan for the maritime sector.» Photos: Pixabay