MaerskÆs German shipyard permitted 4.2 million euros investment aid
The European Commission has approved 4.2 million euros ($5.6 million) in investment aid to A.P. Moller-Maersk's German shipyard Volkswerft Stralsund, which will enable it to start building Panamax containerships.
In August 2005 Germany notified its intention to grant regional investment aid to the shipyard, which is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a region with high unemployment and lower-than-EU-average standard of living.
The money corresponds to an aid intensity of 22.5 percent, the maximum allowed under the Framework on State aid to Shipbuilding and the EC decided in February 2006 to open an in-depth investigation to establish whether the planned aid was compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules.
After concluding the investigation, EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: 'The aid encourages greater efficiency and competitiveness of an EU yard. This is in line with the objective of the State Aid Action Plan of less and better targeted state aid. I am satisfied that the aid is only used to modernize the yard and not to create additional capacity.'
Volkswerft Stralsund is building a series of seven 4,150-TEU ships that are thought to have a service speed of 29 knots, making them the world's fastest containerships.
Industry sources have told American Shipper that these ships would be deployed by Maersk on a an express Hong Kong/Yantian/New York service with an 18-day transit time to attract time-critical cargo that moves to the U.S. East Coast by the more expensive mini-landbridge from the West Coast, something the Danish group has declined to confirm or deny.