Industrial policy & business climate

The maritime sector is of strategic importance for the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. Yet the sector is under increasing pressure from international competition, often lacking a level-playing field.


Consider, for example, unfair state aid and, partly due to digitalization, increasing industrial espionage and sabotage. Although this mainly concerns players from non-EU countries, we also see inequalities within the EU when it comes to the implementation of certain rules. For example, the Netherlands interprets the Schengen border code more strictly in practice than other EU countries. This makes it less attractive for ships to call at Dutch ports.


The export criteria in the Netherlands are also stricter than in some other European countries. Moreover, during the COP26 in Glasgow, the Netherlands signed a statement on accelerating the transition to a green energy supply. Public financing of fossil fuel projects abroad, especially export credit insurance, is expected to end by the end of 2022. Dutch companies will feel the impact on their international competitiveness, as they will no longer be able to use export credit insurance, while major foreign competitors will.


Other factors also influence the business climate, including access to a well-trained workforce, continued investment in innovation and infrastructure, supporting (financial) instruments for export promotion, counteracting market barriers through the development of free trade agreements and involving the maritime sector in trade missions. Regional zoning plans and environmental and noise legislation are also experienced as restrictive and inconsistent for the industry, with the risk that it will eventually be relocated abroad. An effective and efficient lobby for an industrial policy, focused on the maritime sector and an attractive business climate, is therefore indispensable.