|AUX-NAVALIA project is funded by the Transnational Cooperation in the European Atlantic area. AUX-NAVALIA is aimed at enhancing competitiveness and innovation capacity in a niche of excellence for the maritime economy of several European Atlantic regions, as in the shipbuilding industry and in particular its auxiliary industry.
The current world situation in the naval sector could be summarised using the following data: Asian, Japanese and especially Korean shipyards are leaders in the world on the subject of building big vessels. Asia is emerging as the new shipbuilding potential, especially China and therefore European countries are designing strategies to help them compete in other market segments (building of warships, reefers, cargo vessels and container ships, etc.).
In Europe, the weight of countries located within the area of influence of the transnational Atlantic Area program is almost half of the European added value generated in the naval sector thus showing a strong concentration of this industry in the said geographic area. It is therefore paradoxical to note that only 10% of contracts are allocated to the EU shipyards in the merchant navy shipbuilding segment while the figure is 58% for Korea and 22% for Japan and other Asian shipyards, amongst which the Chinese quota is visibly increasing. The demand within the merchant navy vessels segment should be fundamentally European because vessel owners from EU member states signed orders for new vessels in 2003 which represent 51.5% of the total worldwide shipbuilding orders. The main challenge of the European shipbuilding industry and especially that of the countries that lie within the Atlantic Area, is that of successfully competing in the worldwide market with shipyards from the Far East.
The way forward for European shipyards to compete in the global market with a structural trend of price reduction and localisation cost overruns within the Euro zone, is as follows:-Obtain a certain reserve of the domestic market through EU political-administrative actions.-Increase productivity in production processes.-Reduce fixed costs.-Define new technology intensive products that are protected by the corresponding patents.-Firmly manage the financing problem by recourse to instruments defined and arranged with financing entities.-Get the support of the European Union to establish new policies to help companies that are linked to innovation, technological and organisational excellence objectives.
It is important to reflect on the significant role played by the ancillary industry within the naval sector from the Atlantic Area. It is greatly responsible for the final added value generated by this sector and is mainly comprised of three types of companies:
a) suppliers of capital goods,
b) integrators: big companies that undertake works related to fitting out, electrical installations, insulations, etc. and SMEs that fundamentally provide labour (installations, interior fittings, etc.).
Even though the naval ancillary industry is not the driving force, it can nevertheless be considered to be the base of the shipbuilding industry, both in terms of added value provision to the vessel (more than 70% in most shipbuilding works) as well as in terms of workforce used (about 47,000 direct jobs) which amounts to 87% of employment in the shipbuilding sector for Spain. This third segment is where most of the small but labour intensive enterprises lie. They are currently less competitive and this therefore negatively affects the competitiveness of the overall sector. In fact this ancillary services industry is quite vulnerable to changes in its environment because it is mainly comprised of small and less modernised companies which are nevertheless a fundamental link for shipyards to be more competitive since they represent a sizeable percentage of the final cost of the ship. It is also the segment that is less supported by public sector grants.
Given the strategic importance and the weight of the ancillary industry, as well as its repercussion on competitiveness of the naval sector as a whole, it is fundamental to act on this business link in order to contribute towards making the Atlantic Area naval sector more competitive in the global market..