In the Baltic Sea region shipping is the most important means of transport – over 2000 ships operate on the area at any given moment. That is one reason for more stringent rules when it comes to ship-borne emissions in the future. Clean shipping is a priority area of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and HELCOM encourage cooperation between national and regional governance within making the Baltic Sea a model region for clean shipping as the main target.
Shipping industry will face new challenges when the new emission restrictions will lead to increased fuel expenses, logistic costs and investments in new technology. At the same time the economies on the area are suffering from global recession. Maritime cluster is facing increasingly fierce global competition, rising cost levels and lack of qualified workforce. Lack of cooperation within and between maritime clusters is also a challenge for the maritime companies in the region.
Shipping is a very effective mode of transport, but anyhow maritime transport is an important source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. International Maritime Organization has designated the Baltic Sea as a Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) requiring a progressive reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships by 2015.
The need of new technical solutions is urgent; new types of engines as well as new types of fuels are being developed, scrubbers are installed and tested onboard. The competence of clean shipping technology is on a high level on the Baltic Sea area.
Competitiveness of the maritime sector
In the maritime sector, there is growing global demand for cleantech solutions, design and engineering services, ship repair and conversion services, offshore expertise, and Arctic expertise. In highly developed maritime clusters the market potential lies mostly in niche technologies and services, whereas clusters at lower stages of development provide markets for various infrastructural suppliers as well as project management and personnel training experts.
However, in the growing markets there are also more and more competing actors. Although knowhow in the aforementioned technologies forms the current competitive advantage of the region’s maritime clusters, there are also other actors providing state-of-the-art expertise in the same fields. For instance the offshore sector seems to be very attractive as almost all of the studied regions plan to focus on the related activities and expertise. Thus, although the offshore markets are extensive, there is eventually room only for the best of the best.