Álvaro Platero Díaz, Chairman of Astilleros de Gondán, S. A. and PYMAR, represents the fourth generation of a family which has been engaged in shipbuilding in Figueras (Castropol) since the late 19th century. 22 years ago he took charge of Gondán, a company with almost 300 workers with a turnover of €70 to €100 million a year.
“Spain is traditionally a nation with strong ties to the sea. It has a long shipping history only made possible because of its capacity for shipbuilding. The small and medium-sized shipyards grouped together under PYMAR are the heirs to this long shipbuilding tradition. Today they represent a competitive and technologically advanced industry at the head of a sector on which 87,000 families depend for their livelihood. Spanish shipyards are largely exporters and specialise in the construction of sophisticated ships with high added value and huge future potential thanks to the major development being carried out in the offshore oil and gas exploration and production industry.
This industry is working at ever-greater depths and increasing distances from the continental shelf, leading to new requirements and specifications in the ships being used. Ship-owners therefore require highly reliable shipyards to embark on their expansion, renovation and growth projects with them. It is a market niche in which our shipyards are well placed internationally, and being competitive in this sector has not prevented them from continuing to work on other types of ships such as fishing boats, oceanographic research vessels, maritime rescue boats, etc.
The implementation of a new Tax Lease system, authorised by the European Commission in November 2012, represents an essential instrument for guaranteeing activity in shipyards and the ancillary shipbuilding industry.
The current economic situation has had a dramatic effect on industrial activity due to a major lack of liquidity, the increasing cost of money and the risk policies currently being implemented in the finance sector. It is thus becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive to obtain finance, and therefore guarantees, which affects not only the cost but also the viability of new shipbuilding projects. However, Spanish private shipyards are ready to face this challenge and, thanks to the support of PYMAR, have a promising future ahead of them.
Spain and Europe must be made aware of the importance of our sector and its strategic status, and should continue to adopt measures to promote and boost a sector which offers excellence based on the experience and prestige gained over the years and is at the forefront of innovation and technology.”