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Seafarer remittances account for 8.9% of Philippines’ GDP

Seafarer remittances account for 8.9% of Philippines’ GDP
The Editorial Team July 3, 2023

Using the Philippines as a case study, a report commissioned by the ICS from the Institute of the Americas, highlights how seafarer remittances contributed considerably to the nation’s GDP in 2022.

According to the report the Philippines has been the leading provider of sea-based workers since 1987. These seafarers play a significant and essential role to the country due to their significant contributions to economic activity, trade, employment, and expertise in various maritime-related sectors.

The report titled The Key Role of Seafarers in a Net-Zero World (, was launched at the Future of Shipping: Seafarer 2050 summit that examined the economic benefit seafarers contribute on nations’ GDP, job creation, connections with other sectors, maritime clusters, labor conditions, just transition challenges, and the importance of seafarer training and competence.

Key findings

In 2010, the maritime sector was responsible for 1.8% of total UK employment, 1.9% of UK GDP, and 1.6% of total government revenue. In the US, the sector contributed US$ 432 billion to the national economy, or around 2% of its GDP (2022).
The Philippines, home to 14% of the global seafarer workforce, is already taking proactive steps towards securing its maritime future. Their engagement with the Maritime Just Transition Task Force and the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs, and Indonesia’s initiative to collaborate with skills councils on maritime education, are noteworthy.

This is also important considering that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (the Philippines Central Bank) stated that, in 2022, seafarer remittances accounted for at least 22% of all U.S. dollar remittances from Filipino workers overseas (OFWs). In February 2022, the BSP reported a record-breaking $34 billion in remittances (from all overseas Filipino workers) accounting for 8.9% of the country’s GDP.

Policy recommendations in the report:

Labor and employment

Invest in a revised employment model to create contract stability for employers and employees.

Training and certification

Invest in training for entry level and mid-career seafarers to ensure more preparedness, which can also be linked to longer and more secure employment contracts.

Data and access to reliable industry information

Invest in data collection and management with consistent, country-level parameters for key industry indicators.

Human capital and just transition

Invest in diversity and gender programs that support a just transition and better leverage entry level and employment possibilities in the sector; increased equity should also support how the industry manages and leverages remittances.

We are all aware that the number of seafarers is declining and without them the movement of global trade will suffer. We must support our seafarers and also show the important role that our seafarers can play to a country’s economy. … said Emanuele Grimaldi, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping

Shaping the Future of Shipping: Seafarer 2050 summit, on 27 June in Manila, was a gathering of employers, shipowners and unions focused on prioritizing the needs of seafarers around the world. The event was organised by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Employers’ Council Ltd. (IMEC) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), with the Filipino Shipowners’ Association (FSA).

A key outcome of the summit was the recognition that investment is needed at all levels in the recruitment, training and retention of seafarers and ICS, IMEC and ITF agreed work together to take forward to lessons from the summit and to work on a tangible plan including the identification of potential funding sources.

Leonardo Beltran, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mexico and Advisor at the Evaluation and Learning Initiative of the Climate Investment Funds – Board of Sustainable Energy for All, highlighted that the Philippines is geographically strategically located, with abundant maritime resources, a skilled workforce, and supportive policies to drive growth and development in the national economy and the global maritime industry.

This is a prime example for the potential and opportunity to invest in the future seafarer. Without seafarers there is no global trade so we must look at solutions and engage in cross sectoral collaboration if the industry is to meet the challenges ahead.… said Leonardo Beltran