Maritime Monitor 2017

The numbers tell the tale. That is the idea behind a yearly monitor that covers Dutch Maritime Cluster.

Recently, the Maritime Monitor 2017 was presented. It gives an impression of the overall situation in the maritime cluster in the Netherlands because there is a focus on every sector, from fishing to shipbuilding.

The Netherlands has a long maritime tradition and a reputation in the world for their innovation and entrepreneurship. The Dutch know how to serve a client and come up with solutions where others see problems. A lot of dedicated people work in the maritime cluster. People that get the job done.


In total, 271,500 employees are working in the maritime sector, three per cent of the total employment in the Netherlands. Together, they form 17,200 companies that create a total value added amounted to around EUR 23 billion, including EUR 5 billion indirect value added. These figures came out of the new monitor and are the current best available figures for the different Dutch maritime sectors and cluster.

The study for the maritime cluster was done on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and in cooperation with Maritime by Holland (Stichting Nederland Maritiem Land).

The maritime cluster consists of the following maritime sectors: shipping, shipbuilding, offshore, inland shipping, dredging, ports, navy, fishing, maritime services, yacht building/watersport industry and marine equipment supply.

The study consists of a description and analysis of the economic and labour market for 2016 as well as the trends in these markets for the years 2006-2016.

The numbers

In 2016, the direct and indirect production value was almost EUR 55 billion. The total value added amounted to around EUR 23 billion, including EUR 5 billion indirect value added.

This means the maritime cluster generates 3.3 per cent of the total gross domestic product of the Netherlands. This a slight decrease in comparison with 2015 when the cluster generated 3.5 per cent of the total gross domestic product.

The sector provided employment for around 271,000 people, which is 3.0 per cent of total employment in the Netherlands. This figure is the same as in 2015 when it was also 3.0 per cent. Of these current jobs, 166,000 were direct employment.

Total employment (direct plus indirect) in the Dutch maritime cluster increased in 2016 by 1.1 per cent (3,000 persons) compared to 2015 employment figures. This increase was only due to an increase in indirect employment, direct employment decreased by 0.2 per cent.

Total value added (direct plus indirect) of the maritime cluster decreased by 2.2 per cent. This means that with more people less money is earned.


In 2016, with regard to employment, the maritime cluster performed in the same way as the Dutch economy as a whole where employment increased with 1.1 per cent.

With regards to Dutch gross domestic product, however, that increased with 2.8 per cent in 2016, the maritime cluster performed worse with a decrease of 2.2 per cent (direct plus indirect value added).

Total exports of the maritime cluster amounted to around EUR 25 billion in 2016. This means the cluster has a share of 4.4 per cent of total Dutch exports of goods and services.

Shipping, fishing and shipbuilding generated a (direct) value added in 2016 which was below the level of 2006.

For the shipping sector, this is caused by low tariffs resulting from overcapacity in the sector. In the fishing sector and the shipbuilding industry, the lower value added results from a lower employment number. The added value of the navy has declined due to a cutback in expenses.The number of (direct) employees is more stable in 2016 compared to 2006 than the value added.

In the sector ports, the number of employees increased relatively the most during this period, followed by the sectors dredging, offshore, maritime services and shipping. Employment in the sectors navy, fishing, shipbuilding and yachtbuilding/watersports industry declined. In inland shipping and marine equipment, supply employment remained stable.


Innovation in the Netherlands is a hot topic. It is seen as one of the pillars of the success of the Dutch maritime cluster. The cluster invested 3.4 per cent of their added value in research and development, an increase of 0.1 per cent.

This is above the European standard that asks for an R&D budget of three per cent of the value added. On average, the Dutch economy as a whole invested 1.5 of the value added in research and development.

This proofs that the maritime industry in the Netherlands is planning to stay ahead when it comes to innovation.

This article was previously published in Maritime Holland edition #7 – 2017.

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