Messina hits out at unfair competition brought about by state aid

In Italy it’s harder to work in shipping because of the rigid government policy on state aid, which is not equally applied in the rest of the world, a leading owner has said.

“I think there are today some cases of unfair competition mainly in the shipbuilding industry but also in shipowning and in the port terminal business. I’m thinking of Chinese dry bulk companies or container carriers, but also of several South Korean shipyards, which are excellent at projecting and building ships, but they are in technical bankruptcy,” Stefano Messina said at a conference held in Genoa. The chairman of Messina Group added that these companies have been often saved in recent years by public bodies or financial institutions such as Korea Development Bank or Exim Bank (Export–Import Bank of Korea).

He also stated: “While in Asia shipyards are kept alive through state aid, in Italy and in Europe many shipyards went bankrupt in the last decade.”

Messina spoke about unfair competition. “The government in Italy,” he said, “applies in a too firm way the rules about public aid to private companies.”

The Genoa-based shipping businessman also recalled the public rescue of container carrier CMA CGM which took place in 2012 with the intervention of the French public financial vehicle called Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement.

Today in Italy, instead, it’s still up for discussion how to give government grants to shipyards for new innovative ship projects such as those with LNG propulsion.


Nicola Capuzzo

Nicola is a highly qualified journalist focused on transport economics, logistics and shipping with broad experience in both online and printed media. Specialties: shipping, ship finance, banking, commodities and port economics. He regularly interviews Europe's top shipowner executives for Maritime CEO magazine.
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