Taken together, the European Union’s Member States represent a strong presence in the global maritime sector. From container ships and tankers to ferries and cruise ships, European shipping is diverse and dynamic.
In 2019, ships registered under the flag of an EU Member State represented 17.6% of the total world fleet measured in dead weight tonnage (DWT).
In terms of ownership, registered owners domiciled in EU Member States accounted for 36.4% of the worldwide DWT.
In absolute terms, there were 18 000 ships registered under EU flags in 2019, accounting for 266 million GT.
The age of ships is also relevant in the context of pressures on the environment, as younger vessels tend to be generally more efficient because they have the most advanced engines and equipment on board. Half of all the ships registered to flags of EU Member States are less than 15 years old, with bulk carriers and gas tankers the youngest.
Over the past decades, sustainability has become a key pillar of the maritime sector’s development. Innovations in alternative fuels, use of alternative technologies, and a focus on the entire lifecycle performance of a vessel, including its recycling, are just three areas of sustainable shipping in which EMSA is active.
Under the European Green Deal, a number of initiatives are being rolled out to increase sustainability in shipping. Among them are the Fit for 55 package and the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy.