06/18/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2020 07:36
Companies are reporting problems with the international travel restrictions that now apply, as service personnel cannot visit customers to provide support. 'But even here new solutions are presenting themselves in some cases. Firms that invested early on in the digital possibilities offered with teleservice now have an advantage,' Johannsmann says. 'We're currently concerned about customers' increasing reluctance to buy items. However, we can't make any reliable predictions in this respect and have to continue to proceed cautiously. The measures swiftly taken by the German federal government such as degressive deprecation, loss carry-back and expansion of tax incentives for research and development are important for enabling companies to weather this period effectively and stay competitive in the world market.'
Future with digitalization
'In the long term we expect to see the rapid technical modernization of the global fleet, which is obsolete in many cases. Such an upgrade is essential for achieving the climate targets that have been set,' notes Klaus Deleroi, Deputy Chairman of VDMA - Marine Equipment and Systems and Managing Director of REINTJES GmbH. Overall German makers of marine and offshore equipment supply their components and systems for nearly all ship types under construction. There are, of course, companies that have specialized in specific vessel types and now have to cope with declines in orders, which have been very considerable in some cases. It is vital for these firms to make new developments and refinements attractive for other groups of customers and position themselves more broadly if possible.
Technology drivers here are cruise ships and yachts and particularly also ferries, gas tankers, work boats and ships for navies that are built worldwide and are in demand. 'We want to provide technical support for our high-tech products and systems over the entire lifecycle for all ship types and ensure optimal operation both ecologically and economically. It's now becoming increasingly clear that digitalization is an important driver in the maritime sector', explains Deleroi. 'However, just as important is a generally healthy and competitive European and German maritime industry if it is to remain successful on the world market. In the current situation, the future supportive measures announced by the federal government, such as the bringing forward of the fleet renewal programme, from which German shipyards and the supply industry will hopefully benefit.' Deleroi says.
At the same time, the sector has to attract sufficient suitable young talent for ensuring the further digitalization of products and processes by offering attractive working conditions and interesting assignments. Future-oriented areas such as the standardization of open interfaces with the Universal Machine Technology Interface (UMATI) are important for companies developing new products and services. Only firms that know and implement the overarching digital system developments can hold their own on the market. The joint efforts of the German maritime industry with the compilation of the VDMA standard sheet for the MTP (Module Type Package) give the sector an international competitive edge in this respect.
Drives of the future: hydrogen strategy and power2X
Over 90% of world freight transport continues to be by sea. Climate-neutral drives in new ships or as retrofits are very important for achieving global climate goals. Green hydrogen and the resulting power2X energy carriers are the solution, particularly also for intercontinental cargo transport. One objective of the National Hydrogen Strategy recently unveiled by the federal government is to decarbonise conventional energy sources with the aid of renewable energies. It is up to the German offshore wind industry to generate sufficient green electricity for this plan.
At the same time, the VDMA sees great opportunities in establishing commercial partnerships with other countries that thanks to their geographical location can produce hydrogen efficiently. Large production plants made in Germany are to be established in such countries and operated for the mutual benefit of both partners. Martin Johannsmann concludes: 'The current situation in the economy generally and in our sector in particular is problematic, as we have little in the way of reliable indicators for the future. We are convinced that once the Corona crisis has passed we will be successful with our innovations in digitalization along with the implementation of green drive concepts in the global maritime market and make our contribution to promoting climate-neutral logistics.'
Indicators for marine and offshore equipment suppliers in Germany
The VDMA represents approx. 3,300 German and European companies in the engineering and plant construction sector. This industry, which is noted for its innovation, export orientation and small and medium-sized enterprises, employs about four million persons in Europe, including more than a million just in Germany. VDMA - Marine Equipment and Systems represents the export-oriented maritime sector serving the global markets of shipping, shipbuilding and the offshore oil & gas industry.