The chairman and sole shareholder of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, yesterday took advantage of his admission speech at the Royal Academy of the Sea to vindicate the strategic nature of the shipping sector; Utor demanded from the State "a firm commitment in this regard, with the adoption of the necessary measures so that Spanish shipping companies can compete on equal terms with those of the rest of the European Union".
The president of Baleària wanted to make it clear that it is not about the State granting aid from expired perspectives, but about public policies being aligned with those of the European partners. He considers that the opposite "is lethal for the Spanish shipping sector, which competes with European shipping companies that benefit from public policies promoted by administrations that do have a global vision of the sector."
Speaking to the main players in the Spanish maritime sector, Utor recalled that the European maritime sector is the world's leading power, since "the EU does give maritime activity the strategic consideration" that he demands of Spain. In fact, a third of the ships that make world trade possible belong to European shipping companies, among which are the three main container shipping companies.
Utor contrasted the strength of the Italian, French and German shipping companies with the reality of the Spanish shipping sector, which "occupies the European caboose, despite its geographical location and being the second country in Europe in terms of maritime interconnectivity".
On the other hand, according to the president of Baleària, Spanish public interest traffic “could in the medium term be operated mainly by shipping companies with a foreign parent, if not directly foreign”. This would be a consequence of the weakness of the Spanish maritime sector due to the fact that successive administrations have not had a strategic vision towards this sector.
As an example of the grievance facing the Spanish shipping sector, Utor referred to the Tax Lease, which allows shipowners to obtain tax benefits for the construction of ships and thus improve their competitiveness.
The president of the shipping company explained that the application of the Tax Lease in France requires that the owner be French, regardless of where the ship is built, while in Spain there is no such nationality requirement to benefit from tax benefits and, furthermore, the boat must be built in Spain.
Foreign shipowners can benefit from this system, as well as obtain export guarantees from the State, while a Spanish shipowner loses the right to tax benefits if he does not build in Spain, nor does he have the right to export guarantees. "The European fiscal regime designed to promote the development of European shipping companies is used in Spain to improve the competitiveness of shipyards," said Utor.
Likewise, the president of Baleària underlined the importance of the ro-pax model as a driver of economic progress, since an efficient network of maritime communications combined for passengers and goods contributes decisively to the progress and development of the territories. Finally, Adolfo Utor praised the competitiveness of the Spanish port system in contrast to the weakness of the national shipping sector.