The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Is shipping getting a good Brexit deal?
The UK’s Brexit deal may not be pretty, but it just about works for shipping in that the prospect of simply crashing out of the EU next March looks much worse. But is the maritime sector being listened to by a government that is apparently struggling to work out the significance of one of its own major ports? Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade sits down with UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive Bob Sanguinetti this week to discuss why he has urged MPs to think very carefully before attempting to halt the progress of the only deal on offer.
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WHILE the UK political establishment is busy tying itself in knots over Brexit, the shipping industry is simply looking for clarity.
Given that only a few weeks back the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab had conceded he “hadn’t quite understood” the importance of the Dover to Calais crossing, it is perhaps understandable that industry executives have been questioning whether the UK government has fully understood the significance of shipping in its EU negotiations.
But the hardliners on both sides of the debate are inevitably outraged, suggesting that Mrs May has at least found a middle ground Brexit deal that will leave almost nobody in Britain particularly happy, but could at least give all sides something.
From the outset shipping companies have said that maintaining frictionless trade between the UK and the European Union is the absolute priority. The Withdrawal Agreement on the table appears to achieve that, in part.
The alternative is a No-Deal scenario that would bring about unprecedented challenges for the maritime sector.
The government’s own watchdog this week issued a damning report warned that there is a significant and growing risk that UK ports will face major disruptions in the event of no-deal Brexit, dubbing the Department for Transport’s preparations for avoiding disruption around major ports as “worryingly underdeveloped”.
And that was probably the politest thing that any has said about the DfT this week.
So, as the UK prime minister begins her two-week campaign to sell her Brexit deal to the public and MPs, before the vote in the House of Commons on 11 December we sat down this week with the chief executive of the UK chamber of shipping, Bob Sanguinetti to discuss the best outcome for shipping and why, a bad deal is better than a no deal.
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