With an estimated annual revenue of 50 billion euros and around 400,000 people employed, the maritime industry is one of Germany’s most important industries. It includes ship-building, suppliers, and the offshore industry as well as shipping and ship management companies, the ports and research institutes. Overall, this sector is heavily composed of mid-market firms.

Because exports are so important to Germany, competitive shipping is a key condition for the economic prosperity of the country. Due to the close intertwining of global maritime trade and the global economy, the situation of the German maritime economy is heavily influenced by global developments. This was as evident in past years as it is in the current situation.

The sector currently faces many kinds of challenges that require mastering the fluctuations in the economy in a difficult market environment just as much as the demands of digital transformation on all levels. At the same time, the sea holds huge economic potential for maritime technologies, particularly from the ecological point of view. Germany’s tradition of ship-building and comprehensive maritime know-how have been a good basis up till now for the development of energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies. It’s ‘green technologies’ that offer sustainable opportunities in the high-tech field for the future, and above all genuine jobs in industry with high qualification and compensation levels. The future looks bright for the other areas of the maritime economy, too, which are to be implemented as part of the Maritime Agenda 2025.

We have been familiar with the particular issues of the maritime sector for many years and therefore offer businesses in the industry a comprehensive service. Our experts know all the specialist requirements, especially the tax and legal conditions in the industry and all their particularities – from German tonnage tax to international tax law, to international configurations. Our particular strengths lie in the agility of a mid-market company and being connected to the high-performance Grant Thornton International Ltd. network.

We understand the maritime economy’s challenges and its potential for development, and are therefore able to give our internationally operating clients the best support, both locally and globally. 

Our solutions

  • Advice on tax structuring/planning, particularly on international tax law with regard to the special regulations for shipping in the double taxation agreements (particularly Articles 8 and 15(3) OECD Model Tax Convention) and the German External Tax Relations Act (Außensteuergesetz – AStG).
    Business restructuring
  • Assistance with the preparation and performance of transactions and separation and integration measures
  • General tax advice on cross-border activities, e.g. for permanent establishments, VAT, and posting of workers
  • Tax compliance (including tonnage tax, insurance tax)
  • Management consulting
  • Advice on particular situations (including restructuring)
  • Audits according to German and international standards
  • Transfer pricing projects (advice on transfer pricing methods, preparation of documentation, defence in tax audits, advice on mutual agreement and arbitration)
  • Advice on governance, risk, compliance and technology
  • Assistance with the design/analysis of (project) accounting and working capital management systems
  • Financing advice (including on the financing of mezzanine capital, project financing, acquisition financing, and financial modelling)

Our awards 

We’re proud of the awards we’ve won. And we’re just as happy that our clients give us top ratings! We’re working hard to keep it that way. And that’s a promise!