Economic Impact Study Belgian Shipping Cluster: Update 2017

Every three years, the RBSA updates the initial study from 2001 monitoring the maritime cluster and focusing on three subsectors, i.e. the merchant navy, towing and hydraulic engineering. The present edition also delves into the economic impact of the renewable energy sector.

The study confirms that global shipping has been experiencing a downturn for years. Belgian shipowners have als been hit with falling turnover and margins. Nevertheless, Belgium is home to champions as they remain competitive in Europe and across the globe. The sectors merchant shipping, towage and dredging together have a turnover of 8,141 million euro. This generates a total value added of 2,488 million euro and a total employment of 16,242 FTE. The maritime cluster as a whole represents 0,5% of Belgium’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 0,4% of its employment.

For these shipowners, the Belgian flag has become the Obvious choice, in contrast to 20 years ago. In this regard, European and Belgian shipping policy has been successful.