According to a study by Oxford Economics, the EU controlled fleet (which includes ships whose ultimate ownership or control lies in an EU country, but which may be flagged in a different country) currently represents around 40% of the world’s gross tonnage. Since 2005, this percentage has expanded by more than 70% in tonnage terms.

As for its total economic impact, the European shipping industry is estimated to have contributed EUR 145 billion to GDP, employed 2.3 million workers and generated tax revenues of EUR 41 billion in 2012.

The study highlights a causal link between EU controlled fleets that have managed to grow despite a recent stormy period and EU-approved state aid measures to support shipping, mostly in form of tonnage tax. According to estimates, the economic contribution of EU shipping would have been possibly half as important as the one recorded in 2012 if state aid measures had not been introduced by several EU member states since the late 1990s.

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