Croatia: Maritime Players Foresee Innovative Future in EU

Maritime Players Foresee Innovative Future in EU

At a European conference in Zagreb, held right after Croatia acceded to the European Union, Croatia expressed a positive view on the future development of the maritime sector.

According to Croatia’s shipbuilders association, the future lies in structural restructuring, orientation to smaller specific market niches, innovation and new technologies. Director Ruđer Friganović: ‘On the eve of Croatia’s accession to the European Union, we are at the beginning of the long run. The future of Croatia now depends on achieving an efficient and multi- specialized economy. The privatization process of our shipyards has successfully come to an end. We are now looking forward to new horizons. Together with the European Union and our new European partners, we want to explore all possibilities of co-operation.’

The conference was held on Friday June 28th at Sheraton Four Points in Zagreb. It was chaired by the Croatian Ministry of Economy, and attended by main players from European and Croatian side. After an introduction by the Ambassador of The Netherlands, H.E. Mrs. Stella Ronner-Grubačić, officials from the Ministries of Transport and Economy explained their way forward. They agreed that structural changes, innovation and investments in new technologies are the only way forward. Mr. Helmut Morsi from Europe’s DG Move, invited the present parties to come up with new proposals in the field of transport and industry development, in particular to the Trans-European Network Programme and the Connecting Europe Facility.

Geert van Voorn of Leda Shipyard, Korčula introduced the concept of ‘Smartyards’. ‘By optimizing production and design processes, high tech ships can be placed on the market, and costs can be reduced. Process innovations should be core business of the new Croatian shipbuilding approach, and we are going to invest in that’. Shipowner Mr Kees Koolhof (CFL) added that environmental technologies are needed to face the challenges of new legislation, and governments should roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in this.

Mr Arjan Stavast of Shell highlighted the bright future for LNG as a marine fuel and Shell’s activities to develop this exciting market, in close collaboration with key partners.

Bloem Doze Nienhuis, August 29, 2013