The United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union is expected to have little direct impact on the containership sector, as the country handles only 1.4 percent of global container volumes, according to Alphaliner.
The country’s market share in terms of port throughput had been in steady decline for over a decade, down from 3 percent in 2000 to a low of only 1.2 percent in 2013.
A small recovery saw the UK regain some of the lost share and the nation’s ports reached an estimated throughput of 9.7 million TEUs in 2015.
The UK’s share of European container throughput has also declined over the same period from 13.9% in 2000 to 8.9% to 2015.
The county’s decline as a maritime centre for the container shipping sector had started long before the Brexit decision, Alphaliner said.
UK-flagged containerships today account for only 3.7 percent of global vessel capacity, while UK-controlled containerships account for as little as 2.2 percent of the global fleet in TEU terms.
Capacity operated by UK carriers is even smaller at 0.2 percent and the last of the nation’s large operators, P&O Container Lines, was merged with Nedlloyd in 1996. The merged entity finally came under Danish control in 2005, when sold to A.P. Moller-Maersk.
In the short term, UK imports are expected to be negatively affected by the strong depreciation of the British Pound, mainly affecting imports from Asia. This could put additional pressure on the fragile recovery of the Asia – Europe trade, Alphaliner added.