Photo: Image Bank Sweden
After receiving a green light from the European Commission, the Swedish government has introduced a temporary support programme for the country's shipping industry.
The assistance also includes aid to seafarers working on ferries that have been taken out of traffic because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The retroactive programme covers the period from 13 March till end-year. Shipping lines can seek aid through the Swedish Transport Administration.
"The government has gone to great efforts to protect Swedish jobs and companies, both when it comes to support and easing regulations. The support is important for Swedish shipping and should naturally be present during a crisis. When the crisis is over we'll have a green re-start and then a strong Swedish-flagged shipping sector will be crucial," Tomas Eneroth, Infrastructure Minister, said.
Anders Hermansson, Deputy CEO, the Swedish Shipowners' Association, added, "The Swedish Shipowners' Association welcomes the decision on the temporary regulation. The Swedish government's resolution has been both much awaited and important for Swedish shipowners, not to mention the ferries that have been hit hard by COVID-19. During, for example, April 2020 the number of passengers decreased by ca. 90% vs. the corresponding period last year, and sea shipping turnover went down by almost 50%. The temporary support programme gives the shipping lines, similar to what has happened in other EU states, the possibility to temporarily adjust the traffic network. The measure is enormously important for the shipowners who in times of an unprecedented crisis that lacks an earlier equivalent were in principle forced to close large parts of their businesses because of the crisis."