Maritime research at the Maritime Meeting place in Almedalen

More resources for maritime research and development,  strong maritime clusters and shared responsibility between industry and society for maritime research. These were some of the views that came from the politicians who talked at the Maritima Meeting place in Almedalen.

Swedish infrastructure Minister Tomas Eneroth participated in Blue Growth's seminar "Shipping after the election?". In his speech he addressed the shipping funds for research and development.

"When I looked at the research and development resources for the various modes of transport, I became a bit worried. I come from the automotive industry and know how important it has been for the automotive industry with national clusters, with programs together with academia and industry, and how it has given us a world-class automotive industry, said Tomas Eneroth and continued .

"When I looked at the share of R&D-funds for shipping, I got a little surprised, it was remarkable low. And even though there are players with financial resources, I think that, like we did in the automotive industry, we have to find a way where we share the risks. Therefore, it has been clear to me in the national transport plan and other contexts to point out shipping as an area where we must increase research and development funds, in a joint research and development program for shipping", said Tomas Eneroth.

Maritime research was also a topic discussed during Monday's election debate "Transport Policy and Sustainable Shipping" arranged by the organizers of the Maritime Meeting place.
Anders Åkesson , MP for Centerpartiet, said that the Swedish shipping industry needs to be stronger in order to attract more research resources.

"It is a matter of giving the shipping industry the opportunity to research more, it is very important that we have vessels that are Swedish flagged and thus engage in Swedish research and education", said Anders Åkesson.

All parties that participated felt that more research resources for shipping was possible. Social democrat Susanne Svensson addressed the recently drafted national transport plan and the government's strategy for freight.

- When the national plan and the strategy, eight billion SEK will be allocated for transport research 2018-2029. Looking at the plan and the strategy, shipping has received a lot of money and focus. Money will be available, said Suzanne Svensson.

EU financing
Karin Svensson Smith from the Swedish Green Party also highlighted the freight strategy and hopes that Swedish research funds can be used as counter-funding for European research grants.

"But it's important to be forward-looking and it's about the conversion of the driveline and that the big investments in new tonnage are right. And then it is very reasonable to share the responsibility financially between the public and the business community. You have shown that you want to participate in this conversion and then it is reasonable that we also take our responsibility on the political side, so that we pay for the knowledge development needed together", said Karin Svensson Smith.

Boriana Åberg, the Moderate Party, wants the Swedish maritime cluster to be more visible and also meant that the Swedish flag is important for research.

"If we have more Swedish flagged vessels, our opportunities to influence IMO increase and we can demand that the rest of the world have the same environmental requirements as we have in our waters. This way, our marine technology companies can sell their inventions and develop innovation projects to the rest of the world. So it is very important that we focus on research in the maritime area", said Boriana Åberg.

"Hugging each other"
The politicians in the debate agreed most of the time. Something that Anders Åkesson focused on.

"We are hugging each other here in our shipping ambition, but if you come down to the workshop floor in a company like HH Ferries, who is researching a lot and use batteries on a ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingør, it obviously seems quite confusing if you also suffer from a 100% fare increase. Then it does not matter that we are standing united here on a scene in Almedalen, if we, regardless of who controls the country, do not have the ability to get government agencies to implement our politics", said Anders Åkesson.