The GERMAN SHIPSUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION represents the interests of the ship supply industry and the companies involved in tax-free trade throughout Germany vis-à-vis all government authorities; it advises and informs members on all commercial issues, informs them on current topics in its newsletters, and endeavours to improve the knowledge of the general public on ship supplying, and to enhance the good reputation of the German ship suppliers. It, therefore, attaches great importance to the membership of reputed companies with a long tradition and experience in the business.
The Association was founded in 1947 in Hamburg, and is still based there today.
At present there are some 150 ship supply companies in Germany, the vast majority being members of the German Shipsuppliers Association. Membership includes general suppliers, technical suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers of electronics, food, beverages, tobacco and luxury goods, duty-free shops and owners of touristic vessels and excursion liners. Most members operate small and medium size businesses, employing between 10 and 30 people; the largest companies have more than 100 employees.
At international level
At international level, the International Ship Suppliers and Services Association (ISSA) was founded in 1955 at the initiative of the German Association. This grouping of Associations looks after the joint international interests of ship suppliers, and maintains contacts with shipping associations and relevant international bodies.
In 1958, ISSA published the international Supply Conditions for the Ship Supplying Business. Today ISSA members come from 77 nations throughout the world.
Since 1978, ISSA has also published a Ship Stores Catalogue. This is a technical catalogue of ship supplies and is published in English. It serves to specify goods and facilitates the placement of orders, with simpler identification and ordering by using a code number – it lists and codes some 20,000 articles. Since October 1992, ISSA has also published a Provisions & Bonded Stores Catalogue, giving code numbers for food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco products for ship supplies. ISSA issues an international membership list once a year, the “International Ship Suppliers Register”.
At european level
At European level, the German Shipsuppliers Association represents the interests of German ship suppliers in the European Ship Suppliers Organization (OCEAN).
Many of the German ship supply companies have been established for decades, and some are more than 100 years old, having survived all the difficulties throughout that period.
As ship operation becomes more technical and more automated, ship supply is getting more and more complicated too, and that has led to further specialisation.
At the same time, this development gives ship suppliers an increasingly important role to play as specialised traders, giving an extremely wide range of services for maritime transport. Ship suppliers have become an indispensable element in port operations.