The future of shipbuilding and offshore-component supplying industry 2024

The ship building and offshore world market is subject to strong cyclical fluctuations. In order to establish a long-term orientation, the VDMA working group, representing shipbuilders and offshore suppliers created various scenarios in a scenario conference.

In Germany the shipbuilding and offshore-component supplying industry (Marine Equipment Systems) is an important economic sector with revenue of 11 billion Euros. This high-tech industry employs around 70.000 highly qualified people in about 400 companies who develop, manufacture and supervise products throughout their life-cycle for the global market.

The shipbuilding and offshore global market is subject to strong fluctuations. A paramount task of the management in companies is therefore the assessment of future market changes in order to enhance their strategy. But how does the market develop for the shipbuilding and offshore-component supplying industry in the long run, for example in 11 years? In order to answer this question, the working group within the German Engineering Federation VDMA shipbuilding and offshore-component supplying industry developed scenarios in 2010 and fundamentally revised them in 2013. The six scenarios developed are possible developments which should be considered free from probabilities.


Technology push – innovations offered (scenario 1)
In a nationally-orientated and highly fragmented environment the suppliers of the maritime sector drive the technological development actively due to their wide and innovative range of solutions.
Diversity of innovation at high demand (scenario 2)
The highly attractive environment leads to numerous specialist providers in the maritime supplier sector which engage in fierce technology competition.
New business models as a challenge (scenario 3)
New competitors from other fields are entering the attractive market and satisfy the demand for automation solutions, service features and financing offers.
Free play of forces – Mass instead of class (scenario 4)
The global alignment leads to new competitors in the worldwide market for maritime assets where standard solutions dominate and innovations do not offer competitive advantage.
Free fall– unstable market environment (scenario 5)
Political uncertainties and a weak global economy reduce the demand for global shipping and offshore activities which becomes a challenge for the entire maritime sector.
Market pull – Demand for Innovation (scenario 6)
A strong nationally orientated and fragmented environment demands innovative solutions within the maritime sector which can be satisfied by the suppliers within the stagnant sector.

Evaluation of the future

The scenario team evaluated each projection of the future through a series of questions: How close is the future development relative to the present situation? What developments can the sector expect? In addition: What are desirable future projections? By comparing the individual scenarios a space of the present and an expectation space can be described which cover several different scenarios.

The scenarios 4, 5 and 6 are close to the present situation. In particular the classic energy sources that are still of high importance for the stimulation as well as for the use of offshore facilities lead to this estimation. The space of expectation tops the list in the mapping and covers scenarios 1 and 2. It contains particularly highly innovative technologies and an advancement of conventional energy generation and storage. These changes are expected and also desirable with all the challenges for the supplier sector.


Challenges of the future

It is also expected that the degree of specialization will further increase. It covers all types of maritime assets and has effects on production, operation and maintenance. At this point, suppliers with innovative approaches are particularly in demand in the future. The developments in the energy sector also play a significant role. Innovations in the field of renewable energies, especially the storage of energy has a tangible effect on maritime sector. The changes identified and expected are indicators that should be observed systematically within the scope of the strategic early warning process.

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