Our priorities

The maritime industry is in a state of upheaval.

Global changes, but also technical innovations, are challenging it. The commitment of stakeholders at the political, economic, environmental, social and technological levels is needed. This is where the work of the German Maritime Centre comes in.
We support networking, use research results, promote innovative capabilities and strengthen the future orientation of the maritime sector. With our cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary focus, we concentrate on comprehensively addressing the following issues, which are interlinked in many ways: competitiveness, sustainability and climate change, technological change, demography and attracting young talent.

Competitiveness – the same rules for everyone


A large proportion of the world’s goods are transported by sea. Germany’s prosperity is substantially based on its successful export economy. As a business location, Germany is therefore dependent on an innovative and competitive maritime industry. The competitive situation on the world market has changed considerably over the past ten years, and the flow of goods on global markets has changed significantly.

Having uniform rules for everyone at an international level is therefore of central importance. When trade barriers impede the exchange of goods and services or state intervention unilaterally favours or discriminates against actors, this distorts international competition. Location factors such as legal certainty, infrastructure, wage costs and training levels also have an impact. Only if market participants have access to sources of finance can they invest in innovative technologies. We participate in the development of fair standards.

The field of activity includes:

  • Analysing regulatory and regulatory policy conditions, productivity factors and cost structures in an international context
  • Developing proposals for standardising and simplifying bureaucratic requirements, for example, in planning and procurement procedures
  • Supporting the further development of national, European and international standards, norms and regulations in the maritime sector
  • Assisting the maritime industry in developing its own digital standards and skills
  • Offering market monitoring in the fields of financing and technology promotion

Sustainability and climate change – responsibility for the environment


Integrated thinking about the economy and environment are the order of the day at the German Maritime Centre. The maritime sector has a huge responsibility for environmental and climate protection. Climate change and its implications directly affect the maritime sector: it must adapt to changing sea levels and extreme weather events. Considerable investment will be required in coastal protection, port access and facilities.

The maritime sector is facing the challenge of minimising the negative impact of its own activities on the environment and climate. The market and environmental regulations require and demand sustainable solutions to rapidly reduce emissions from maritime transport. For this purpose, innovative ideas for propulsion technology and energy sources are needed.

The field of activity includes:

  • Participation in the development of standards for climate and environmental protection
  • Bringing together different interest groups for specific purposes, for example, to support the use of alternative fuels and propulsion systems
  • Initiating studies and research and development projects
  • Contributions to the development of the uniform regulations and standards necessary for this purpose

Technological change – into the future with high tech


The position of the German maritime industry on the global market depends on maintaining and expanding its innovation potential. The development of new technologies, for example, in the fields of marine propulsion, production processes and safety systems, is essential.

Whether we’re talking about blockchain, big data or AI applications: digitalisation is elevating the maritime sector to a new technological level. The increase in data-based networking can offer enormous advantages for the transport and logistics sector – financially, temporally and ecologically. Autonomous shipping is opening up new prospects in terms of efficiency and safety. Manufacturing processes such as 3D printing are revolutionising production, while alternative energy sources are advancing the issue of sustainability. Integration into the global platform economy is also changing business models in the industry.

Maritime sovereignty and maritime expertise can guarantee Germany as a business location. If it is to maintain this leading position, the country needs to intensify its research activities and speed up the implementation of results in practice – an essential element of the German federal government’s maritime strategy.

The German Maritime Centre is active here in:

  • Supporting the German federal government in developing new funding programmes and guidelines and in fulfilling its tasks in coordinating European research, development and innovation projects
  • Observing and analysing research and development activities in the maritime sector
  • Monitoring trends and initiating projects and studies on key technologies – especially with a view to facilitating knowledge transfer and cross innovation for the entire industry
  • Analysing financing options for the use of technological innovations
  • Aggregating and processing information on international, European, national and regional funding programmes and making it accessible with the aid of practical instruments

Demography and securing young talent – investing in fine minds


The maritime industry is diverse, international and future-oriented. It offers a range of training and career opportunities for young people and qualified, committed people.

Digitalisation and automation are also changing work processes at sea and on land. New skills are in demand – a challenge that is being intensified by demographic developments and the shortage of skilled workers.

Mechanical engineering, ship design, nautical science, ship operation technology, ship electronics, computer science, logistics; pilots, ship brokers, inspectors, shipping merchants, naval personnel – these are just a few of the numerous maritime training courses and occupational fields. The maritime sector offers school leavers and graduates, but also those who want to change careers, top-class jobs with interesting activities worldwide – it promises technically demanding work with responsibility for people and values.

We are committed to:

  • Supporting and connecting stakeholders at different levels
  • Promoting the perception of the maritime industry as a diverse and future-oriented employer
  • Developing ways to attract skilled career changers to the maritime sector
  • Supporting the work of training providers and the dialogue between the social partners, including by providing information on development of the working world and the future of work in the maritime sector
  • Adapting training courses and skill profiles to changes due to digitalisation and automation, in collaboration with the industry and educational institutions