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VSM says Werften bankruptcy should be an opportunity

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Following German cruise ship builder MV Werften filing for bankruptcy on Monday, German maritime industry association VSM has issued a statement saying opportunities to ensure the future of shipbuilding in Germany should be seized now.

Werfetn’s bankruptcy comes after negotiations between owner, Hong Kong-based Genting, and the German government failed to agree a financial restructuring for the yard and the remaining construction of the Global Dream, a “Global class” cruise ship being built for Dream Cruises, another Genting Hong Kong subsidiary.

VSM’s statement said news about the insolvency of the MV Werften group of companies hits the people at the affected locations hard, as does the entire industry. With this step, worries about the future have intensified again.

The organisation went on to say, Genting’s entry in 2016 was a godsend for the country. The number of employees rose sharply, and major investments in all three Baltic Sea locations were initiated and implemented. Nevertheless, the project meant a great challenge from the start: to create a successful entry into the market for one of the most complex products in the manufacturing maritime industry. With the delivery of the Crystal Endeavor, it was shown that the development of the necessary skills was well on its way, but Corona pulled the rug from under Genting’s feet. For two years everything has been tried to get through the crisis and get back on track. It is understandable that the focus was always on the “cruise market” – Genting is an entertainment company. In the end, however, the parent company’s enormous loss of income took away the leeway that would have been required to implement the ambitious plans.

The attitude of those responsible at the federal and state levels is understandable. With considerable effort, the company was given more time to find workable solutions. In the acute situation, however, the financial situation of the owner company did not allow sufficient confidence in the future prospects. From the VSM’s point of view, it is now crucial to enable the four locations on the Baltic Sea and in Bremerhaven to be retained as part of a change of ownership.

VSM says the German shipbuilding industry can no longer afford a further loss of substance on this scale. The maritime industry is facing a major upheaval. The entire fleet must be converted to climate neutrality, the production of renewable energy offshore must be massively expanded and the infrastructure for sustainable fuels and carbon capture and storage must be built. This will require extensive production capacities in the maritime industry in the coming years. Against this background, bankruptcy can also prove to be an opportunity, as the way is now free for other market segments and business models.

VSM appealed to politicians to quickly create the conditions so that the German economy can actively seize these opportunities. It has e had an initial discussion on this in Berlin with the new Maritime Coordinator of the Federal Government, Claudia Müller.

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