Hartmann says German shipping is still in ‘crisis mode’

Ahead of next week’s 11th National Maritime Conference, where the German government and the local shipping community meet annually to discuss how to progress the maritime sector, the head of the shipowners’ association has been doing the media rounds to make public his wish list from the state.

Interviewed in national newspaper Die Welt, Alfred Hartmann, who has been president of the German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) since 2015, warned: “We are still in crisis mode.”

The Hartmann executive went on to detail how the German merchant fleet has shrunk from its pre-Lehman Brothers collapse peak of more than 3,500 ships to just under 2,300 ships today.

In the interview Hartmann said German owners’ situation was not helped by the massive drop in available ship finance from local banks in recent years. He also hit out at German tonnage tax legislation, saying it compared very unfavourably with other European shipping taxation arrangements.

In a separate interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper, Hartmann made clear his association is against any idea of a C02 tax being levied on shipping.

“If we are only creative in developing new taxes, then that does not help – especially since a possible CO2 tax should be partially returned to consumers,” Hartmann said, adding: “Anyone who wants green shipping needs to invest more money in research and development in order to develop new forms of propulsion.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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