Public affairs i dansk shipping: Med særligt fokus på lobbyismen i EU

Morten Hukiær Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis deals with the Danish shipping industry’s relations to the surrounding world and their strategies towards the parties interested in the industry. This includes lobbyism as well as external and internal communication strategies. The Danish shipping industry is a big source of income of the Danish state and as a part of the Blue Denmark, it is responsible for 24 percent of total Danish exports. Furthermore, the industry is a big player on the global scene due to a high level of competitiveness which derives from favourable Danish framework conditions provided by the Danish state. These framework conditions consist of e.g. the tonnage taxation and the Danish International Ship Register which have been implemented following years of lobbyism efforts from the Danish Shipowners’ Association and provide the industry with favourable tax conditions. However, the shipping industry is a global industry and as such, the industry is regulated by a number of authorities and is affected by changes in the macroeconomic environment such as the debt crisis in Europe, the conflict in the Middle East and the rise of developing countries. The main regulator of the global industry is the UN organisation, International Maritime Organisation, which regulates on the different areas related to shipping. The EU is also regulating the shipping industry but these regulations are not considered to be positive by the industry as any regulation at a regional level weakens European shipping companies’ ability to compete on a global scale. Therefore, the Danish Shipowners’ Association has opened an office in Brussels in order to keep the EU regulations at a level at which it does the industry as little harm as possible by keeping in touch with different European institutions. These institutions consider the organisation to be very professional and good at lobbyism as it makes sure to provide decision makers with material which enlarges their knowledge levels. However, the industry is faced with opposition from NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Transport and Environment trying to speak the case of the environment, human rights and other subjects. Traditionally, the shipping industry is rumoured to be a reserved industry in relation to the surroundings and primarily in relation to the media. In recent years, however, the Danish shipping has seen a rise in the number of employees dealing with external and internal communication. These people have begun making communicative strategies for the industry lifting their efforts towards a more proactive approach although this is a lengthy process and the industry remains quite reactive. As an example, the largest Danish shipping company Maersk has recently won prizes for its social media strategy. However, some journalists state that the industry still has not fully implemented a more open strategy. This thesis tries to form a new public affairs strategy identifying the key issues affecting the industry and dividing these into three groups: Macroeconomic issues, internal issues and media issues. To meet these issues, a new strategy of facing the interested parties is necessary and this thesis comes up with a solution for this. The strategy argues that a new proactive strategy centred on transparency and cooperation is needed in order for the industry to make its way into the 21st century and the demands imposed on companies by the surrounding world. The strategy includes an offensive campaign showing the industry’s importance for the Danish economy, new CSR programmes and continuous lobbyism efforts as well as improved relations to the media, recruitment campaigns and a change in the approach to internal communication. The key point for the strategy is to make sure that the interested parties will be informed about the workings of the industry which ought to make sure that they understood the logic behind the actions taken. This might help reduce the number of negative stories about the industry and make sure that the industry will be able to get better coverage of good stories and thus secure a higher recognition of the industry in the Danish population. Finally, the thesis recommends the industry to make sure the public affairs strategy is handled by one department and not in multiple departments of the company in order for the strategy to be continuously monitored and alternated to make sure the strategy is up to date.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages173