On 13 September 2012 the Commission’s Statement Blue Growth—opportunities for sustainable growth in the maritime sectors (COM(2012)494) was announced. The initiative on Blue Growth was to be one of the main topics of discussion at the Integrated Maritime Policy Ministerial Conference held in Limassol, Cyprus on 8 October 2012. The strategy was endorsed at the ministerial level through the Limassol Declaration. The European Parliament has expressed its support on this issue.

The European Commission presented prospects for sustainable growth in maritime sectors. The Commission has unveiled promising signs of growth and job prospects in the maritime sectors that could contribute to Europe’s economic recovery.

The maritime sectors employ about 5.4 million people and contribute to a total of around EUR 500 billion in gross value added. According to the Commission’s plans, these figures should have risen to 7 million and to almost EUR 600 billion respectively by 2020.

The strategy consisted of three parts. The first concerned specific measures for an integrated maritime policy. The aforementioned part deals with issues such as: marine knowledge—to improve access to marine information; maritime spatial planning—to ensure effective and sustainable management of maritime activities; and integrated maritime surveillance—to give competent authorities a clearer picture of the situation at sea.

The second part was devoted to a strategy for specific sea basins with the aim of providing appropriate measures to promote sustainable growth, taking into account local climatic, oceanographic, economic, cultural, and social factors. Examples include: the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea, the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the North Sea.

The third component indicated targeted approaches in some areas: aquaculture (fisheries website), coastal tourism, marine biotechnology, ocean energy, and seabed mining.

Following the 2012 Communication, the Commission launched various initiatives to explore and develop growth potential in these areas, including statements on coastal and marine tourism, marine and ocean energy, blue biotechnology, and marine mineral mining, as well as strategic guidance on aquaculture. All initiatives were to be undertaken in consultation with Member States and stakeholders.

Two years later, in May 2014, the Commission issued an Initiative on innovation in the blue economy. Then, five years after the 2012 Communication, the European Commission published the report on the Blue Growth Strategy. Towards more sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy. Description of the Blue Growth Strategy in the context of transport, e.g., the CT and container shipping role in the EU economy. An attempt to specify possible input of CT into the strategy implementation.

On March 31, 2017, the report on the Blue Growth Strategy stressed “more sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy”. Moreover, the document addresses the issues of transportation and shipbuilding in the sixth chapter entitled “making blue growth strategy fit for future challenges—today’s trends in the blue economy.”

The role of CT and container shipping in the EU economy is illustrated in terms of employment in the blue economy and turnover (EUR 1 trillion). The Communication then identifies specific areas where targeted action can provide additional support. Referring to data from the above-mentioned report about 97% of the more than 5 million people working in the blue economy are employed in five sectors: (1) shipping, (2) shipbuilding, (3) non-living resources (mainly oil and gas), (4) living resources (i.e., fishing, aquaculture, and processing), and (5) coastal tourism. According to the Commission, the five specific areas presented above show particular potential for growth where targeted action can provide an additional stimulus.

In this study, the main focus is on transport by sea. Shipping carries 75% of the European external trade by volume and just over 50% by value. About 30% of the tonne/km of freight within and between the EU Member States is carried by sea. These proportions have remained relatively stable over the past 20 years.

According to the report, sea and coastal passenger water transport, sea and coastal freight water transport, inland passenger water transport, and inland freight water transport are increasing in importance.

The growing containerization of rail and sea transport favors the contribution of CT to the Blue Growth Strategy.

In the perspective of the objectives listed in governmental and European strategy documents, which emphasize the need to reduce the importance of road transport, this trend is positive.