People of the German flag

Iven Krämer

Bild Dr. I. Krämer 200x200.jpg

About the person


Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen, the Senator for Economy, Ports and Transformation


Head of department for port economy, infrastructure and shipping

Honorary professor at the University of Bremen for the degree program International Shipping & Chartering

Education and professional career:

  • High school graduation in Neubrandenburg (in conjunction with vocational training as electrician)
  • Training position as a ship's mechanic at Hamburg Süd
  • Course of studies in economic and transport geography at the University of Leipzig (diploma thesis about the JadeWeserPort, which was in the stage of planning at that time)
  • 2002: start at bremenports, first as employee in the area of port development and strategy and later as assistant to the CEO
  • 2009: change to the Senate of Bremen, area of responsibility: ports
  • 2014: extra-occupational doctorate from University of Bremen, subsequently taking on various teaching assignments (University of Bremen, Jade University, University of Bremerhaven, World Maritime University), later being appointed honorary professorship at the University of Bremen for the degree program International Shipping & Chartering


Once when my family and I were on vacation and I, once again, dragged them to a harbour boat tour, my daughter diagnosed me with "harbour obsession". What can I say, she is right: I am very lucky that my professional duties and my personal interests and hobbies overlap so much.

6 questions about the maritime sector and the German flag

Shipping and its development always reflect the current world affairs and, in most cases, shipping is at the forefront of them. When there is not enough water in the Panama Canal for the locks to work, when politically motivated attacks blockade the maritime traffic in the Red Sea, when a master and a pilot miscommunicate and this leads to a ship blocking the Canal or when the whole world watches as a ship filled with grain leaves a Ukrainian port to allay hunger somewhere else, then it becomes obvious how exciting and also how important shipping is for all of our lives. Shipping itself always requires looking beyond one's own nose, it is in its nature a globally linked industry branch and that is what keeps fascinating me.

And let's not forget: shipping never stands still, somewhere on this planet, in the ports and on the ocean something is going on and that is also part of the appeal of shipping.

I grew up in Stralsund and have been connected to the sea and many things maritime from an early age. My father had been a seafarer when he was a young man, my mother was trained as a draughtsperson for ship construction and my class at school was part of a partnership with a shipyard and, therefore, we were often invited and shown how ships are planned and constructed. My first real job as a pupil was serving coffee and sausages on a ship of the "White Fleet" traveling between Stralsund and the island Hiddensee.

In my early twenties, I spontaneously felt the urge to try out the great world of seafaring. I hitchhiked to Hamburg, roamed through the telephone directory for contacts and called up people pretty aimlessly. If it had worked, I would have headed out to sea in whatever capacity was offered. However, I was given the advice to go through proper training and contact Hamburg Süd to this regard. And, that is exactly what I did, and only a few days later I started my training as ship's mechanic on Priwall. I am still ever so grateful for this pointer.

Firstly I would say: "Congratulations, this is a very good choice." And then, I would give the same advice I was give: to start with a proper training.

When I trained as ship's mechanic at Hamburg Süd, I often had to hoist the German flag early at dawn and take it back in at dusk. Back then, I thought that this is a given and without sparing a second thought that this might have been a different flag.

For the free City of Bremen shipping has always played a key role and advocating maritime matters is an inherent part of my job working for the Bremen Senator for Economy, Ports and Transformation. As part of this and with the assistance of my excellent staff, I am regularly involved in measures to further the German Flag. That is why I am also a member of the advisory council of the Foundation "Schifffahrtsstandort Deutschland" at the same time.

Another link to the German Flag arises from my teaching job at the universities. In this context, I organize and oversee projects and work dealing with German Flag related issues from time to time.

In its first name. Germany has always been a highly respected shipping location and if it was a matter of course – as it is for many of our neighbours – to, first and foremost, think of one's national flag, much would already be achieved. Most of the old negative points in comparison to other flags have long since been improved upon and the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport wants to facilitate even further simplification of procedures and processes. This is indeed necessary and we should wish the BMDV and the other participants success in their endeavour.

I am an optimist and convinced that German shipping as a whole has a bright future. Shifting this gaze to the future of the German Flag though, this might not be the same.

For the future of the German Flag, the technical and procedural issues the German Flag State Administration will have to deal with will be less critical than how much public and political attention the maritime industry as a whole will attract. At the coast, we know that the inescapable energy revolution, wanted by the whole of society and necessary with regard to climate change, will not be achievable without the ports and the shipping industry. For this though, our country needs maritime know-how and this is created with training. If we want to shape the energy revolution and the transformation of the maritime economy in Germany successfully, we require the right people and the right expertise. And exactly for this, we need maritime training and as we know, this works best under German Flag. Therefore, the German Flag is the guarantor to succeed with the energy revolution and that is what makes me feel positive about it all.

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