France, South Korea lead state aid in maritime sector during Covid-19

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Governments have distributed billions of dollars in shipping aid packages during the Covid-19 pandemic with very few conditions, a situation set to change according to a new report from the Paris-based International Transport Forum (ITF) , which operates under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Support for the maritime sector should be targeted more strategically

ITF researchers have compiled a list of maritime state aid distributed around the world this year (see below), the vast majority of which hardly achieves broader policy goals.

“Support to the maritime sector should be targeted more strategically to help achieve broader goals than loss mitigation for beneficiaries,” the seven-page report said.

“Aid schemes usually include guarantees to prevent companies from being overcompensated. Beyond that, however, governments rarely impose conditions designed to achieve public policy goals other than the immediate goal of mitigating economic losses to the shipping industry due to Covid-19, ”says the report.

Finland is a notable exception. The Finnish government imposes three conditions on aid recipients: first, they must transport products “deemed essential to security of supply”. Second, they must represent a sufficiently large transport capacity, defined as the capacity to move at least 5,000 tonnes per week. Third, they must offer regular transport services, defined as services operating several times a week for perishable goods and at least once a month for more durable goods.

Another exception is Germany which has reserved part of its maritime support package for cleaner ships and maritime innovation.

Like aviation, the vast majority of shipping support measures detailed in the ITF report do not include any conditions on economic, social or environmental objectives, with most countries not even reporting. the implications of their maritime state aid regime.

In the list compiled by the ITF, France is by far the top donor of maritime state aid this year, followed by South Korea.

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