Ocean-going vessels amid worldwide competition

The client asks and the shipowner carries goods to any port worldwide. How does the client choose a specific shipowner? Reliability, speed and innovation certainly play a part. However, the price is actually the decisive factor. As a result, shipowners engage in daily competition with their colleagues from all over the world. Belgian shipowners cannot fail to experience that the international market is not really a level playing field. Some shipowners operate with different technical and safety standards, whereas others pay lower wages to their non-European seafarers. Additionally, in some countries the tax and social security burden is much lower for shipowners than in Belgium. A vessel’s flag determines the regulations applicable on board. Shipowners have a choice of flags to adopt. Reflagging is an easy option as well. Shipowners are thus led to seek the Flag State providing optimum services and quality image at the lowest cost possible. If the current flag no longer meets their needs, they will adopt the flag of a country offering more opportunities for the future.