11 April 17

Portugal – Labour market

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Brief labour market analysis regarding logistics and the Blue Economy

According to the Municipality of Lisbon, the Blue Economy represents approximately 3,6% of the total employment in the country.

Macro statistics regarding the transportation and storage in Portugal indicate a decrease in people employed in this sector from 2010 to 2013 as presented in the table below. This should be however contextualized in the economic situation in Portugal in these years, which had a decrease in the total number of employees in the whole economy. 


immagine labour portugal










Looking at data regarding only activities directly related to the blue economy and logistics, the numbers are much more modest, as demonstrated by the smaller number of workers in the table below. The selected activities also follow the national tendency regarding the employment, with a decrease of the total number of employees – since 2010 – in every class except for the ‘non-coastal maritime passenger transportation’ and ‘maritime and river transport renting’. 





immagine labour portugal 2





















As referred by several actors in the Blue Economy sector, there is a lack of organised data regarding specifically the sector. 

3. Future needs

In 2013, the Portuguese Government published a study entitled “Estratégia Nacional para o Mar 2013-2020” (National Strategy for the Sea 2013-2020), in which several needs where identified, namely:

            The identification and support of activities with high growth potential in the long run, by eliminating administrative obstacles that hinder growth and by the promotion of investment in research, as well as in the development of key competences through educational and vocational training;

            To enhance the competitiveness of the blue economy and to increase the jobs and qualified staff;

             To increase the maturity of the Portuguese companies in the sector, which shall be accompanied by the enhancement of the logistics department in planning activities, in quality and in the integrated logistic management and control, and not only in infrastructures, transport, storage and handling activities;

            To search and define competences for the redevelopment of the national shipyards in the EU, concentrating the competences and the specialisation in innovative market segments.


Regarding particularly the maritime transport, ports and logistics, in the end of 2014 PwC published a study1 in which it identifies several challenges. These comprise the development of an integrated logistics platform in international supply chains, the improvement of technical conditions of national ports, the reduction of bureaucracy and taxation regarding the use of ports and rebuilding a merchant marine, among others.

1 Leme – Barómetro PwC da Economia do Mar (5ª edição)

2 “Desafios do Mar 2020 – Estratégias de Eficiência Coletiva 2ª Edição”

In 2015, the Portuguese Sea Cluster “Oceano XXI” published a second edition of a study with the challenges for the sea in Portugal till 20202. Some problems regarding training needs were identified by the several branches of the cluster:

                        Aquaculture branch

                        Professional diving courses are expensive, take a long time and are not adapted to the company needs

                        Insufficient training courses applied to the needs of producers and with a short duration

                        Fishing, processing and marketing of fish

                        Difficulties in the generational turnover of crews, need to improve the technical and professional training for the sea, for the young people who do not go to the University

                        Unappealing sector to the younger generation due to precarious working conditions, seasonally concentration of work and remuneration conditions

                        Constraints in the co-financing rules of training, both in terms of diversity of answers to specific target audiences needs and in terms of typologies for the constitution of groups

                        Dispersion of authorities related to training, certification and professional register

                        Fish cannery

                        Lack of specialized labour force such as locksmiths, fire technicians, canning machine mechanics and electricians

                        Naval Industry

                        Insufficient qualifications of the human resources in operational functions

                        Ports, Maritime Transport and Logistics

                        Deficit in training in the field of maritime safety

                        Maritime Energies

                        Insufficient interdisciplinary cooperation between the energy, finance, naval engineering and oceanography

                        Dispersion of human resources through different institutions, not allowing the formation of critical mass

                        Blue Biotechnology

                        Low level of training in innovation and entrepreneurship of the marine national scientists

                        Knowledge and technological development

                        Lack of cooperation and definition for a higher education strategy

                        Bureaucratic and financial difficulties prevent the elaboration of transversal training and the equivalency between different higher education institutions

In the end of 2015, a new Government has taken the office in the country and has defined the blue economy as a priority, creating a dedicated Ministry for the Sea. Several ministerial working groups have been created to develop maritime transportation, the merchant navy and sea energy. This will also enhance the need for skills in the logistics sector.