Ships at sea

NMT: Dutch maritime industry needs extra measures due to corona crisis

The corona crisis will hit the Dutch maritime manufacturing industry for at least the next two years, says trade organisation Netherlands Maritime Technology. Due to the long-term effects, NMT urges for extra measures in addition to the government support already announced.

Although companies are still continuing on the work they have, new orders are not coming in, both in the Netherlands and abroad and some orders are being cancelled. Liquidity problems are also arising, according to NMT.

The organisation expects the consequences of this to have an effect for at least two years with problems to deepen in six months to a year. This is because the industry is a supply chain industry that lags behind fluctuations in the economy. Disruptions in other countries also have effects in the Netherlands due to the high degree of internationalisation.

NMT is asking the Dutch government for solutions to the five most acute problems.

  1. More favourable conditions for financing working capital, helping shipyards and suppliers to finance production costs. This is important, because these companies are only paid once the product is completed, meaning they have to finance contracts up front themselves.
  2. Speed up Rijkswaterstaat and Ministry of Defence’s fleet renewal programmes. This will give the government earlier access to the vessels already planned and costs no aid.
  3. As a result of the corona outbreak, hulls of inland vessels built abroad to be completed in the Netherlands have been delayed. As a result, the EU Stage V transitional period for the installation of CCR2 engines (1 July 2021) will be exceeded. NMT calls on the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to extend the transitional period.
  4. Support of leniency when it comes to new regulations coming into force for new sea-going vessels. Some ships will now be delivered later than planned, causing them to fall under new regulations not taken into account in the design as ships are built to the regulations that apply once delivered. This poses major problems: inspections have to be carried out again, adjustments may have to be made to the design while the ship has already been built, and it may be necessary to replace equipment that has already been purchased and installed. NMT will submit a proposal to be lenient in these cases to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  5. Support for the repatriation of employees and active cooperation for the retrieval of foreign workers once production is restarted.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.