State Of The German Shipbuilding Industry
Observers of international economical developments note with surprise that German industry is in better shape than most of them had expected a year ago.
As in 1992 the full impact of worldwide recession reached Germany, it was with some two years' delay, since in the wake of the reunification of the country, national demands concealed the declining growth in the world economy and compensated for reduced exports.
When in 1993 German industry realized its deficits in international competitiveness — due to an overall low productivity, degraded standards of R&D, expenditures and fading innovation — international competitors had already, for two years, been working on their economic recovery. The public debate in Germany was determined by concerns that with lingering political support, high environmental impositions, increasing public rates, the high level of labor costs and complex tariff regulations, it would take more than just better market conditions for German industry to regain international competitiveness.
This view, however, seems to have been too pessimistic. Indications are that world economy is recovering, and rising export orders have created a more optimistic view throughout German industry and put an abrupt end to the weary discussion of the Federal Republic as a generally uncompetitive location for industrial production.
In major industrial branches first data on their expected 1994 performance have been released, announcing remarkable reductions of costs and an increase of productivity that brings in range the standard of their Far East competitors. In other branches (i.e. the aerospace and the chemical industry or important segments of the machine building industry) leading companies have accommodated their corporate structures and policies to the market conditions and have announced that their orderbooks are filled better than ever expected.
The German shipbuilding industry may also take an optimistic view into the future. Its starting position, however, seems to have been Ulrike Nieter better than the prospects of other industrial branches. The German shipbuilding industry has operated for more than two decades under market conditions which were in particular influenced by industrial targeting policies of Japan and South Korea. While strained conditions of a free market caused former shipbuilding nations to disappear from the merchant shipbuilding market, German shipbuilders managed to rank number One in Europe and number three in the world.
The major German shipbuilding companies stayed in shape, keeping a leading position in important segments of the shipbuilding market, primarily in segments of a highly technological nature.
Facing steadily expanding world trade and the fact that the ships of the world fleets are over-aged to a large extent, the shipbuilding market is expecting a distinct phase of growing demand for new ships.
There is another dimension, however, to the important role that German shipbuilding industry will have to accept in the future.
As the maritime environment offers mankind a large number of solutions in the fields of international security, foreign trade, transportation, environmental problems and the exploration of resources, shipbuilding as the core industry of all maritime economy is to become a branch of significant political importance and extraordinary economical chances for future tasks and developments.
For this reason, and with the manifold and intertwined areas of activity of the maritime industry and other political and economical fields in mind, the German shipbuilding and ocean industries have suggested that a coordinator for maritime matters within the German Ministry of Economics be appointed and a similar field of responsibility within the commission of the EU in Brussels be installed.
The overall bright picture into the future, however, is overshadowed by the building up of excessive, superfluous shipbuilding capacities.
Especially in South Korea, the second largest shipbuilding nation in the world after Japan and before Germany, newbuilding capacities are built up on a large scale.
Within the frames of South Korea's "new industrial policy" (socio-economic development plan 1993-1997), shipbuilding, along with the aeronautics/space and automobile industries, is one of the 15 target industries which in part are supported with direct subsidies from the South Korean government. The expansion of the Korean shipbuilding capacities is directly aimed at the Japanese and West European shipbuilding industries in order to gain an even larger market share, and may well be the start to a new round of ruinous competition.
Furthermore, today's shipbuilding capacities are enhanced by the conversion of naval shipbuilding yards into newbuilding facilities and, last but not least, by increased productivity in the existing shipyards.
Before this background it can be expected that the assumed increase of the demand for new ships will not necessarily ease global competition.
The German shipyards, therefore, will continue their attempts to reduce costs by further rationalization.
Besides this, the industry is taking pains to improve the internal structure of the companies, increase efforts in the fields of R&D, strengthen innovation, integrate inexpensive external capacities in the manufacturing process and find new forms of cooperation among the shipyards.
Other stories from September 1994 issue
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- Permea Maritime Finishing Membrane Nitrogen Generator For Offshore page: 6
- 1969 Tonnage Convent HI Now Fully Operative page: 7
- USCG Announces Mandatory Registration of EPIRBs page: 8
- Vessel Financing In The '90s page: 11
- Dredging Feasibility Study For Jacksonville Harbor page: 13
- ILU Reports A Disappointing First Half of '94 page: 15
- CRIS: An Affordable, High-Risk Insurance Solution page: 17
- Colvic Craft Delivers 12 Of 44 Patrol Vessels To G r e e k Coastguard page: 18
- Bay Fabrication Lengthens OSV Ensco Endeavor page: 18
- Cutters Become First N . A . Surface Ships To Reach N o r t h Pole page: 18
- Designs for the 21st century page: 20
- Tuna war and subsidy accusations add to fishing industry woes page: 21
- Maximum Vessel Length To Transit Seaway Is Increased page: 23
- Gladding-Hearn Delivers High-Speed Cat To Maine Whale Watch Co. page: 24
- Elliott Bay Design Group Performs Finite Element Analysis For Arco page: 24
- State Of The German Shipbuilding Industry page: 27
- SMM '94 Product Showcase page: 28
- Blohm + Voss Shortens Sea-Land Ships, Gels QE2 page: 28
- Meyer Werft: The New Old Yard page: 30
- The German Maritime Industry page: 30
- HDW's Shipyard 2000 Plan In Full Swing page: 31
- Lindenau: Developments On The Containership, Tanker Fronts page: 32
- HydroComp, HSVA GmbH Announce Alliance page: 37
- MWH To Focus On Service As Well As Products page: 37
- SMM '94 page: 38
- Unger Named President Of Raytheon Marine Company page: 40
- Lykes Bros. Announces Organizational Changes page: 42
- Textron M&LS President Honored By Navy League page: 42
- Garrow Retires From Newport News page: 42
- Ingalls Christens Aegis Stethem, Commissions Aegis Stout page: 45
- Renewing Engine Monitoring Systems In Old Ships Saves Money page: 45
- Predicting Thermochemical Performance Of Materials Made Easier By NIST page: 46
- MES Completes Natural Gas-Fired High Efficiency Large Low-Speed Diesel Demonstation Plant page: 46
- Global Ocean Carriers Considers U.S. Yards, Title XI For Fleet Expansion page: 46
- N.E. Waterborne Gaming Conference & Exposition page: 47
- Casino Vessel Market Roots Spread To N.E. page: 47
- House Approves $ 1.35 Billion For Maritime Reform page: 48
- Trinity Wins $120-Million Contract For Two Vessels page: 48
- M T W Delivers Containership, Westerdeich page: 55
- Larger Vessels — Good Or Bad For The Liner Industry? page: 56
- Propulsion Machinery Review page: 58
- Newport News Pursues The Electric Drive page: 72
- GE LM2500+: Packing A More Powerful Punch page: 74
- Stolt Selects MMS' FleetWORKS For Tankers, Houston Office page: 77
- COMSAT President To Deliver Keynote Address At Satellite Communications Users Conference page: 78
- Sonsub Awarded Contracts From McDermott, Texaco page: 78
- Thor Dahl Shipping Expands To South Pacific page: 79
- SCN Container Line Linking South Florida, 12 Latin American Countries page: 79
- Fish Expo '94 - Boston page: 80
- Raytheon Subsidiary Teams With Scottish Firm On Undersea Project page: 81
- Navatek II Features Unique Fixed Stabilizer With Split Rudder System page: 83
- Keels & Appendixes page: 83
- Tanker Escorts, COFRs Fill OPA 90 Agenda page: 84
- VTS Participation Becomes Mandatory page: 86
- DGPS Given Go-Ahead In Northwest page: 87
- CSI: Offering Systems For Compliance With U.S. Coast Guard Requirements page: 90
- Hyde Products Offers Full Spill Response Line page: 90
- Annual Certification Of Alaska Advisory Group page: 90
- MarAd Gives Go-Ahead To Extend Cherry Valley's Subsidizable Life page: 91
- MarAd Expands Electronic Bulletin Board page: 92
- MarAd Receives Section 9 Applications page: 92
- Great Lakes Ports May Handle Preference Cargoes Under Program page: 92
- MarAd Approves Section 9 Requests page: 92
- Research Report — Shipboard Piloting Expert System — N o w Available page: 93
- NRC's Vikoma-Built Skimmer Proves Valuable In Oil Spill Cleanup page: 94
- Union Noval de Levante Launches Advanced-Technology Asphalt Carrier page: 94
- Bender Completes Riverboat To Operate In Bossier City, La. page: 94
- MarAd OKs APL Section 804(a) Waiver Request page: 96
- MarAd Issues Order Regarding Seabulk America page: 97
- THE WORLD ORDERBOOK page: 98
- Marco Designs N e w Class Of Combination Vessels page: 99
- Variable Draft SWATH DSV To Be Constructed page: 100
- Norshipco: Striving To Strike A Military & Commercial Balance page: 101
- Two Promotions At Midland Manufacturing; Increased Focus On Marine Market page: 106
- Alfa Laval Tapped For New Ships page: 106
- Nautronix To Supply DP System For USCG WLB page: 107
- Astilleros Espanoles' Puerto Real Yard Preps Shuttle Tanker For Delivery page: 108