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Strategic shipyards

 “Polish shipbuilding industry: between security and economic development” is a report prepared by the Warsaw Institute for Strategic Initiatives, summarizing the project with the same name. According to the authors of the document, the shipbuilding industry in Poland should be included in sectors of strategic importance, but it is necessary to boost its development, which should come from the state administration. Shipyards in Poland must undergo a transformation from competing with low costs to competing with the quality of products, but for this purpose it is necessary to take a number of actions aimed at achievement of this goal. Therefore, it is important to mitigate negative stereotypes that will grow around this sector at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.

In addition, the revitalization of the shipbuilding sector will not succeed without restoring confidence from commercial banks, which are a key element in the financial security of shipbuilding production and without launching initiatives mitigating the effects of business cycles, such as the planned Maritime Development Fund.

Shipyards in Europe are less and less operating only on the civilian or military market, and also in the Polish case such separation is not justified by financial or operational reasons. The markets for ship scrapping and construction of new ships complying with environmental standards, including for example LNG, are growing, which can be described as a valuable direction of specialization. Therefore, it is worth considering the implementation of projects that would support initiatives in this field.

A significant impulse for the development of Polish shipyards may also be modernization programs of the Polish Navy, if they are launched. However, it should not be assumed that only this element will allow Polish shipyards to get into a higher technological level and improve their market position. The most promising areas of technology transfer as part of the modernization process of the Polish Navy are: project management, floating platform management systems, system integration on the platform, or operation of the vessel throughout the life cycle.

Support for the development of innovation may also be projects run within the European Union, but when entering into military-related projects, it must be remembered that they are dominated by the potentates of the European defence industry. That is why it is necessary to look for such projects within PESCO, PADR and EDRP, which will give 
a chance for the Polish industry to develop and learn a significant competence niche. When launching all initiatives supporting the innovativeness of maritime industries, it should be remembered that the final product of research and development projects should be sold or useful from a military point of view or lead to such effects in the future.

The elements mentioned in the report should be included in the sectoral strategy, whose time horizon and assumptions will be consistent with higher-ranking strategic documents. Such a strategy should be the starting point for business plans adopted by the consolidated shipbuilding group, and be an inspiration for other entities operating on this market in Poland.

The shipbuilding industry will be one of the issues raised during the Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2018.

Article developed in cooperation with "Namiary na Morze i Handel" magazine.

photo: W. Jakubowski

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