«Canary Islands shipyards one of the great recipients of the shipbuilding PERTE»
Interview with Almudena López del Pozo. CEO of Pymar
Almudena López is the CEO of Pymar, a public limited company established in 1985 by the main private shipyards in Spain and which defends the interests of the naval sector in Spain and Europe. She works in full collaboration with the Government of Spain and the autonomous communities that participate in her board of directors.
- At what point is the Spanish shipbuilding industry after two years of pandemic?
During 2021, both the number of ships contracted by Spanish shipyards and the working hours associated with them were 30% higher than those registered previous year. Specifically, Spain has been the EU second power with the highest number of units ordered (23 units) only behind the Netherlands, and it was the ninth worldwide. In the ship repairing field, Spanish market has recovered the activity prior to pandemic. Las Palmas, with its two shipyards and over 80 ship repair workshops, has continued to be an international benchmark. Activity at Las Palmas Port during 2021 remained very stable, with high occupancy. Between Astican and Repnaval, they accounted for over 250 repair projects, confirming an increase in services both at floating dock and drydock.
- How strong is Shipbuilding industry in Spanish economy?
According to the latest available data, Spanish Shipbuilding industry provides more than 70,000 jobs in Spain, it contributes directly to our economy with 3,800 million euro and generates a total impact of over 9,222 million euro. This means that, for every euro produced directly by the shipbuilding industry, 2.4 euros are generated in the economy as a whole.
- Has covid introduced any changes in the shipbuilding activities, that is, in addition to construction, repairs, reconditioning... are there new opportunities? I imagine that 'offshore wind' now opens a world of possibilities for this industry.
Indeed, your reflection hits the nail on the head. If shipbuilding industry bets on its transformation and on its value chain diversification towards renewable energy sector, which will be part of PERTE essence, it can choose to become one of the most competitive industries of, at least, Europe. Additionally, PERTE for shipbuilding converges with Renewable Energies PERTE, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage PERTE and with Offshore Wind and Sea Energies Roadmap in Spain. The opportunity that arises is, therefore, unbeatable for the industry of our country. The Spanish Shipbuilding industry has construction capacity and experience, auxiliary industry, and a port and land infrastructures optimal location. Private shipyards can complete current construction offer to cover the potential demand for marine renewable energies, participating in the industrial development of floating offshore wind prototypes, and manufacturing or integrating structures and components for this industry. In this sense, Navantia is a magnificent example.
- Spanish Government will introduce the Shipbuilding industry PERTE this month. What exactly will it consist of and what will it mean for the sector?
In January 2021, Pymar, Navantia and Siemens introduced an Expression of Interest to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism with the ambitious objective of proposing bases for a true transformation of the entire value chain of Shipbuilding sector in our country, to guarantee its competitiveness and future within a demanding international market. The Shipbuilding PERTE will make possible to work on the same objective, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan approved by Spain to channel European funds from Next Generation EU Recovery and Resilience Mechanism. To do this, the Shipbuilding PERTE will provide support for projects organized based on three fundamental pillars, such as diversification of Shipbuilding industry activity, its digitization and environmental sustainability improvement. These projects must have, in turn, a transversal process of professional formation and companies training.
- What will this PERTE mean for Canary Islands shipbuilding industry?
Shipbuilding PERTE will offer the opportunity to improve Canary Islands and Spanish competitiveness shipbuilding sector is highly relevant in all aspects we have pointed out: to keep our industry at the digital technology forefront, to guarantee our position at the forefront of environmental sustainability, both in production processes as well as products, and to support necessary formation adaptation and professional retraining making everything possible. From its side, the enormous potential offered by the diversification of activity towards areas such as offshore wind energy represents a great future opportunity for the Spanish naval sector as a whole, but it is especially promising for Canary Islands, due to its location peculiarities, since it has several independent electrical systems and a remuneration system for electrical energy that is different from the rest of Spain.