London has historically been the pivotal centre for the shipping
business for hundreds of years. Although there are now not as many
docks as in the past, London still holds its crucial position in
the shipping industry.
The Brexit referendum and rivals such as
Singapore are seriously threatening Londons status in the industry.
It is however to be specified that London position was suffering
even before the referendum, but the uncertainty stemming from a
possible post-brexit environment could mean London will lose its
As suggested by David Balston, director of
policy at the UK Chamber of Shipping, Londons main concern
would be to make the city as competitive as possible in maritime
terms as to make the UK offering on all sectors and industries as
attractive as possible in a post-Brexit scenario.
For instance, Singapore, who has historically looked up at
London as the leading city for the shipping industry, has offered
lucrative tax breaks for companies who decide to relocate there, in
order to steal Londons top position, which proved to the be a
catalyst for the industry development.
The industry has however drafted a host of requests for the
government to implement promptly. Namely, the industry expects the
government to ensure that maritime services operate according to
new free trade agreement, while also ensuring that quitting the EU
will result into the UK being able to offer much more attractive
tax breaks for shipping firms and investments. The government is
also expected to provide additional support in the industry
promotion and to establish a shipping register. If promptly
addressed, these requests could help London maintain its
Brexit could also allow the UK to significantly cut red tape,
while, reportedly, EU state aid rules have hindered the
implementation of the British tonnage tax regime, which offered a
lower tax environment that could be reinstated in a post-Brexit
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