Ireland is growing as a global maritime business hub and its strengths in asset leasing could provide an alternative source of finance for shipping, according to a new report commissioned by the Irish Maritime Development Office and authored by tax advisors KPMG and legal firm Dillon Eustace.
The republic is trying to position its maritime sector to be as globally dominant as its aviation industry. Half of the top 50 aviation leasing companies in the world are based in Ireland, and more than half of the world’s leased aircraft are managed from the country.
The new report, ‘Ship Finance: Opportunities for the International Shipping Industry’, assesses the advantages of Ireland as a location for maritime commerce and foreign direct investment, and how the rules and regulations that have supported the development of Ireland’s aviation sector could translate to the shipping industry – particularly with respect to asset leasing.
Many operators active in asset financing in Ireland have previously focused solely on aviation, but are increasingly diversifying their asset base to include manufacturing equipment, medical devices, rail stock and are increasingly looking to maritime assets, the Irish Maritime Development Office said.
Ireland’s government is keen to attract and facilitate maritime business in the country, and the Department of Finance is expected to announced more financial benefits for the industry in this month’s budget.
“Our ship finance report reinforces the fact that Ireland is a business hub for some of the leading companies in the world and that there are many compelling reasons for doing maritime business in Ireland,” Liam Lacey, director of the Irish Maritime Development Office told Splash.
“This report identifies many advantages that set Ireland apart as a hub for maritime commerce with a 12.5% corporate tax rate, combined with a very competitive tonnage tax regime, extensive double taxation treaty network, and favourable treatment of leasing, securitisation and other structured finance,” he continued.
The findings echo those of a previous report, published in July by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway, which claims a planned International Shipping Services Centre (ISSC) could put the Irish capital on a par with established hubs such as London, Hamburg and Singapore. ISSC Dublin was founded two years ago.
“Irish professional advisors have been at the cutting edge of the most complex financial structures for many years and bring a broad range of transactional skills to the area of finance,” said Lorcan Tiernan, partner in Dillon Eustace. “As a group we comfortably navigate the most complex deals and offer innovative solutions across industries and all of these skills can and are being brought to bear in the area of maritime commerce”.
The ‘Ship Finance: Opportunities for the International Shipping Industry’ report can be downloaded here.