Maximising regional value through maritime connectivity investment

Panel Session


23 May


12:45 to 14:15


Hall 3, Level +1


  • Lunchtime Session

Maritime connectivity has been shown to increase the external trade of countries and regions. There are various ways in which maritime connectivity could be facilitated. In many countries this takes the form of support of some form to their shipping sector, either via budgetary or tax expenditures or other support measures. A measure introduced in many countries is the tonnage tax, a favourable tax scheme for shipping companies that replaces the regular corporate income tax. One could wonder if these support schemes have achieved their objectives. At the same time, initiatives such as Belt and Road have driven increased foreign investment in maritime assets, including ports. Such initiatives could provide funding for projects that would otherwise not taken place, but have also raised concerns. One of the main questions is how local economic spillovers can be generated from this investment?

Key facts:

  • In 2019, 22 EU-countries have a tonnage tax, yet the share of EU-flagged vessels has decreased from 34% in 1990 to 18% in 2018.
  • The market share of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in European container terminals has increased from zero to ten percent in one decade.

Lead questions:

  • Do maritime subsidies enhance regional growth, well-being and land-side connectivity?
  • How can foreign investment in maritime assets create positive local spillover effects?
  • What is the impact on ports and related policies?



Katherine Bamford

Director, Trade Development

Port of Vancouver

Philippe Alfonso

Political Secretary

European Transport Workers Federation

Martin Dorsman

Secretary General

European Community Shipowner's Associations

Christophe Tytgat

Secretary General

Sea Europe

Pat Cox

Moderator, Journalist and former President of the European Parliament