For real growth: jump to page 28 and 32

The breaking news in our own maritime pond in April was the release of the Blue Growth Teams recommendations for creating blue growth - and a plan for making Denmark a maritime power center.

I believe that during the past months the fact that there was a growth team - and that they were working on recommendations for our politicians – has come to the attention of almost everybody in our cluster. Even the youngest and least experienced shipping trainee could follow the trails of the team around the country in Søfart/Shipping Watch/Maritime Danmark/Twitter.

But now the recommendations are in. And there has been a fair bit of praise for the team for their work and also a loud call for politicians to embrace the recommendations – and to get down to work.

I am not to judge or evaluate the recommendations - but operating in a truly global (relatively) transparent market. You need to operate on a level playing field. You need to be on constant alert - what are your competitor’s actions - analyze and make your clever moves as a flag state - and as a cluster. This way we make sure that Danish businesses have the best platform to operate and compete in the world market.

Parallel to this: Danish employees working around the globe, be it on ships as seafarers or jumping from ship to ship, or rig to rig - to fix things - they need to be able to compete on quality and not be hampered by uncompetitive tax schemes. Obviously!

We are also aware that the age of digitalization is over us. And because our society is in the forefront in this respect (we all know why PostNord is almost out of business) we have a pretty good starting point and should push this agenda even further. Here we have a super growth potential as the transport sector (in general) has been found to be the least digitized and the sector with the lowest speed of development in all of Denmark (according to a study made for Erhvervsstyrelsen in 2015). So, there is big potential - in Denmark and globally.

There are - however - a few hidden gems in the recommendation. Something that might not have caught the media’s attention at first - but which has the potential to offer not just growth, but huge growth. These recommendations are to be found on page 28 and page 32 respectively. You have to search for it - but you can find it in the recommendation boxes. Here the words “Ocean Economy” and “..using the ocean as a resource…” can be found. This could be an interesting path to follow. The OECD report of 2016 on the Ocean Economy pointed out that a vast unexploited potential lies in our oceans of growth (double of gross value added from 2010 to 2030) and jobs (an increase of about 33% from 2010 to 2030).

Yes, we are pretty good at using the water to transport goods from one country to another. As for fishing and energy exploitation, we are having our fair share as well. However, there is much more to come from the oceans. MDC, in collaboration with CBS Executive, hosted a lecture about Ocean Mining. It drew an immense crowd. Curious? What are the possibilities outside of the traditional sectors of our industry? The answer is: immense. It has been predicted that 10% of all mining will be derived from our oceans in 2030.

Likewise, we will see more fish farming, surveillance, energy production, pharmaceutical production, tourism. And it all springs from our oceans. This is where growth will come from - this is the Ocean economy.

So, what is the good news? The good news is that many of these emerging Ocean industries rely on technology produced for our traditional maritime industry. They still need ships, floating platforms, communication technology, maritime know-how and seamanship, reporting schemes and underwater drones.

So let’s cooperate on “making the cake bigger”; we have the competencies, the technologies, the infrastructures, and the legislative system to make things happen.

Mikkel Hansen