The European Commission will launch a 3 million euro (US$ 4.2 million) program aimed at improving public awareness of the shipping industry and boosting recruitment.
The program, which is being launched to offset industry concerns about the poor image of shipping, will get under way by the middle of next year with participation by stakeholders in the shipping industry.
The program, a joint initiative between Brussels and the shipping industry, will concentrate on the image of shipping as well as improving awareness of the maritime sector, said Dimitrios Theologitis, head of Maritime Transport and Ports Policy, Maritime Security, at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Transport and Energy.
“In January, we brought out our maritime strategy for the next 10 years so we have regulated a lot and created one of the best regulatory environments in the world in terms of safety and environment,” Theologitis said at a recent meeting in London.
Under the terms of the program, the EC will call on interested parties at least two or three times a year, to submit sets of proposals which will then be looked at by specially set up consortia. They, in turn, will be encouraged to submit their own applications for action.
“The idea is to form large consortia which can cover all facets of a particular area. They will work on key issues and they will have to raise some of the necessary funds, which is a good thing because they will assume some level of ownership,” Theologitis said. “It will eventually become a research and development project where material can be developed and thought out as to how best promote shipping’s image”
The idea of the initiative was “not just about making a video to show to member states,” he said. “It is a comprehensive project which will have to be defined by the submitting parties. It will cover education, promotion of the shipping industry and it will look at ways to address the media and the way information about shipping is collected and distributed to the public.”
The European Commission was among a number of leading industry associations that supported the project, which is headed up by InterManager. Representatives from Intercargo, Intertanko, Bimco, OCIMF and the IMO among others, debated the importance of the initiative and all pledged their support in one way or another.