‘Cool heads’ needed in response to UK ‘out’ vote

United Kingdom voted in a 52% majority to leave the European Union United Kingdom voted in a 52% majority to leave the European Union

As the United Kingdom voted in favour to leave the European Union, the whole country is left in uncertainty, including the UK shipping industry.

Following the vote, which also led to prime minster David Cameron resigning, the UK Chamber of Shipping as called for ‘cool heads’ but most UK ports agreed it was too early to comment.

In a statement it highlighted: “We are still an island nation that has to make its way in the world through buying and selling, and the shipping industry is here for that very purpose.”

“We’ve had the political debate, now it’s time for rational and strategic thinking.”

Shipping moves 95% of the UK’s international trade and therefore there is understandable concern surrounding UK ports and the shipping industry.

But, most note that it is too early to envision what the effects, good or bad, will be. Scotland voted prominently to remain a member of the European Union.

A spokesperson from Edinburgh-based Forth Ports, said: “The outcome of the EU referendum has only just been announced and it’s too early to be commenting. Our focus, as always, will be on meeting the needs of our customers and building our business.”

While Associated British Ports (ABP) said it was too early to judge what the implications might be.

Its statement read: “We anticipate that it will give rise both to new opportunities and new challenges. ABP will work hard to seize those opportunities and address those challenges. For the time being, it is business as usual at ABP and we will continue to fulfil our mission to keep Britain trading”

Others, such as Peel Ports, told Port Strategy that they will not be formally commenting on the ‘Brexit’ result until they have assessed the situation fully.

It is clear that key policy areas that will need attention from the government when the country leaves the EU, such as visas and work permits, border controls at ferry and cruise terminals, and various fiscal arrangements including Tonnage Tax.

Alongside this, the UK Chamber of Shipping notes that the future of EU Navfor and collaboration of European navies to counteract piracy and support rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea will also need to be discussed.

Others are reporting that struggling Chinese shipyards could get a boost from the UK leaving the EU. Lloyd’s List said that according to a senior executive from a Chinese leasing giant, the greatest benefit for the yards, whose cash inflow is mostly in US dollars and outflow in Chinese yuan, would come from a further depreciation of the yuan fuelled by Brexit.

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