Name the two countries within the European Union to have no tonnage tax. Answer? Landlocked Austria and the shipping powerhouse that is Sweden. At least for the Scandinavian nation moves are afoot to try and address the issue, much to the relief of Heléne Mellquist, ceo of local roro operator TransAtlantic.
“This area has been neglected politically for many years,” Mellquist says, adding: “Such a proposal has just been announced by the Swedish government which is positive even if it is very late.”
Next year’s budget – details of which were announced in early September – includes plans for a tonnage tax.
While that is good news for Mellquist, there’s plenty more she’d like to see changing in the industry. “Shipping is full of old habits that need to be challenged,” she tells Maritime CEO.
Among other changes she’d like to see is a general simplification of administration in shipping.
“There are some unnecessary requirements that take up time and drive costs in shipping,” Mellquist maintains. An easy suggestion, she says, would be to send certificates onboard digitally rather than today’s laborious paper requirements.
TransAtlantic is a shipping and logistics service provider with roro and container services. It connects the Bay of Bothnia and south of Sweden with the large transhipment ports on the continent. Its fleet today numbers 17 ships. There are no plans for more newbuilds just yet, Mellquist says. Fleet changes are at present managed by replacement of vessels on charter, she adds.