In Depth: The Dutch Maritime Cluster Monitor 2016

The Netherlands is a maritime nation. This fact is proven by the numbers recently released by Maritime by Holland, the organisation that promotes and strengthens the maritime sector in the Netherlands.

The maritime cluster generates 3.5 per cent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the Netherlands, the same as in 2014.

In 2015, there was a slight decrease of maritime jobs in comparison to the year before. Total exports of the maritime cluster amounted to EUR 24.4 billion in 2015. This means the cluster has a share of 4.4 per cent of total Dutch exports of goods and services.

In 2015, the direct and indirect production value of the maritime sector was almost EUR 55 billion. The total value added amounted to around EUR 24 billion, including EUR 5 billion indirect value added. The sector provided employment for around 265,000 people, which is 3 per cent of total employment in the Netherlands. This number is lower than in 2014, when it was 3.1 per cent. Of these jobs, 165,000 were direct employment. Total employment (direct plus indirect) in the Dutch maritime cluster decreased in 2015 by 0.5 per cent (1,200 persons) compared to 2014 employment figures.

Maritime cluster

The Netherlands has a world class maritime sector

In 2015, with regard to employment, the maritime cluster performed not as well compared to the Dutch economy as a whole, where employment increased by 1 per cent, compared to a 0.5 per cent decrease in direct plus indirect employment for the maritime cluster. On the other hand, the increase in Dutch GDP (plus 2 per cent) was smaller compared to the increase in value added (direct plus indirect) of the maritime cluster (plus 3.9 per cent).

Fishing, shipping, the navy and shipbuilding generated a (direct) value added in 2015, which was below the level of 2006. For the shipping sector, this is caused by low tariffs resulting from overcapacity in the sector. The fishing sector suffers from lower fish catches. In the shipbuilding industry, the lower value added results from a lower employment number. The added value of the navy has declined due to a cutback in expenses.


The number of (direct) employees is more stable in 2015 compared to 2006 than the value added. In the dredging sector, the number of employees increased relatively the most during this period, followed by the offshore, ports, maritime services, shipping and marine equipment supply sectors.

Employment in the navy, fishing, shipbuilding and yacht building & watersports industry sectors declined. In inland shipping (direct) employment remained stable.

The labour market in the maritime sector in 2015 is less stable compared to the situation in 2014. The number of vacancies has risen and while some sectors expect growth in the coming two years, others expect a decline in employment.


In the 2015 maritime labour market monitor, seven sectors were asked to reflect on the expected employment developments in their sector in the coming two years. Three sectors expect a rise in employment between 2016 and 2018: maritime equipment supply, shipbuilding and offshore. The dredging, maritime services, inland shipping and yacht building & watersports industries all expect employment levels to fall between 2016 and 2018.

In shipping, yacht building/watersports industries and inland shipping, the number of vacancies has risen in 2015, compared to the year 2014. In dredging, offshore, maritime services and shipbuilding, the number of vacancies has declined in 2015. Overall, the number of vacancies has risen, from approximately 38 per 1,000 jobs in 2014 to 42 per 1,000 jobs in 2015.

World class

A large part of the vacancies is difficult to fulfill. In shipping and shipbuilding, this is the case for over 80 per cent of all vacancies. In other sectors, the percentage is lower, but still concerns a substantial part of all vacancies.

“The Netherlands has a world class maritime sector. And we like to keep it that way,” says Melanie Schultz van Haegen, minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. Her department ordered the Maritime Monitor to be created.

Schultz van Haegen sees the next year as the year of truth. “The last years were relatively good for the maritime sector, compared with other sectors.” Now when the economy is growing, the maritime sector stays behind.

“Smart investments and innovations have to strengthen our international position in the world market. Export is the foundation of a healthy maritime sector,” says minister Schultz van Haegen.

The last trade mission to Indonesia, led by the minister, can give the maritime sector a boost in 2017. The Indonesian president chose the Netherlands to be a partner land in maritime business.

“This is a unique chance for our maritime industry to establish a lasting business relationship with Indonesia.”

This article was previously published in Maritime Holland edition #7– 2016

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