Findings of a survey published by the UK Chamber of Shipping show that 65% of the global maritime industry professionals believe that the EU has a positive impact on the shipping industry globally.
However, concerns were revealed over the impact of the EU regulation causing asymmetry in competitive conditions for businesses operating at a global level.
The survey covers 149 global shipping and maritime industry professionals’ attitudes towards the UK and the findings were published ahead of London International Shipping Week 2015.
The study provides 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.
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).
Over 70% of those surveyed felt that the UK was a globally competitive place to do business. In addition, the availability of a comprehensive maritime cluster was a key factor for those surveyed in deciding where to base their business, in addition to political stability and geographic location that contributed to the perception of the UK as a competitive home for maritime businesses.
A total of 55% of those surveyed felt that the UK was the world’s leading maritime centre, with Singapore coming a close second.
“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,” Chamber CEO Guy Platten said.
“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.”
According to Platten, the study findings show that global shipping practitioners see other centres as attractive destinations for maritime businesses and the UK must up its game if it is to remain a preeminent maritime centre into the future.