The UK Chamber of Shipping has published the results of a survey of 149 global shipping and maritime industry professionals’ attitudes to towards the UK, ahead of London International Shipping Week 2015.
The findings provide a fascinating insight into the priorities of the global industry which moves 90% of world trade, highlighting attitudes towards the European Union, the role and stature of the UK within the industry and the factors which industry leaders deem to be crucial when choosing where to base their businesses.
On the EU:
- The survey found that industry leaders were split down the middle when asked if they felt that the UK’s membership of the European Union was important to their business (48% answered important, 51% combined neither, not very and irrelevant)
- 65% did however believe that the EU has a positive impact on the shipping industry globally, but concerns were revealed over the impact of EU regulation causing asymmetry in competitive conditions for businesses operating at a global level.
The UK as a globally competitive centre for maritime businesses
- Over 70% of those surveyed felt that the UK was a globally competitive place to do business
- The availability of a comprehensive maritime cluster, a key factor for those surveyed in deciding where to base their business, political stability and geographic location all contributed to the perception of the UK as a competitive home for maritime businesses
- 55% of those surveyed felt that the UK was the world’s leading maritime centre, with Singapore coming a close second
Chamber CEO Guy Platten said;
“These findings show that whilst the global shipping industry supports the principles of the European Union, the jury is still out on the idea that Brexit could damage the industry.
“There are clearly concerns surrounding EU “mission creep”, and the negative impact regional gold-plating of regulation can have upon the shipping industry, which reduces the ability of EU members to compete in the global market.
“If the European Commission truly believes in competiveness, it must understand that in an industry where global regulation exists, too much regional regulation is asking for trouble.
“There are of course both threats and opportunities for the shipping industry from the current renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU. As a key mechanism for global trade the shipping industry must play an assertive role in these discussions to ensure that politicians are aware of the practical impact their political decisions will have.”
UK Chamber CEO, Guy Platten said;
“As an industry, we talk a lot about the increased competition from overseas the UK faces and here we see evidence of this competition in real terms.
“Our findings show that global shipping practitioners see other centres as attractive destinations for maritime businesses and we must up our game if the UK is to remain a preeminent maritime centre into the future.
“Next week will see the launch of a Maritime Growth Study, which will highlight what the UK needs to do to remain competitive and boost its standing in the global maritime industry.
“We believe that reform of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is a necessary part of this challenge. To attract new business, more ships on the UK register and more companies basing themselves here, the MCA must become more commercially aware, customer focussed and understanding of demands of global shipping companies.
“Our competitors understand this and so must we.
“So too must we support the training and education of a seafaring generation in order to meet the needs of the global industry and take advantage of the predicted shortfall as global trade grows.”
London International Shipping Week, and the launch of the Maritime Growth Study next week will provide an opportunity for the UK to showcase the world class maritime offering which exists throughout the UK, but also to show that we are ambitious for our industry and that we are up for the fight to remain competitive and attractive in the global marketplace.