CESA has a long tradition as representative organisation and can look back on a long period of fruitful cooperation and constructive dialogue, including at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.
Starting in 1937 as "International Shipbuilding Conference", it was re-established after the war as "West European Shipbuilders Informal Contacts" and renamed in 1965 to "Association of West European Shipbuilders", AWES. In the eighties, AWES established an EC-linking committee, which later on became a separate sister organisation under the name of CESA. However, in 2004, AWES and CESA decided to go back to the initial one-organisation structure, i.e. CESA.