UK Chamber: Brexit presents an ‘unprecedented lobbying opportunity’

UK Chamber: Brexit presents an ‘unprecedented lobbying opportunity’

The CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping has said the next two years will be a great time for the nation’s maritime industry to lobby for policy change while the UK exits its membership of the European Union (EU).

“There is a bit of uncertainty for people, we know that, but also what it presents is an unprecedented lobbying opportunity,” Guy Platten told Splash today, speaking a week after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the EU (a so-called ‘Brexit’).

“Trade is at the heart of all this, shipping moves that trade, therefore shipping is at the heart of all this, therefore our industry is going to have a lot more government time than it’s had for ages and ages,” said Platten.

“Whatever your views are, we’ve got to deal with the reality – shipping has got to roll with the punches and crack on.”

The job of the UK Chamber going forward will be to help the nation’s maritime industry exploit every opportunity that might arise post-Brexit, the CEO said.

“We want to ensure that in any negotiations we maintain free trade and freedom of movement – we think that’s really important. We want the UK to be the most competitive place to do business and we want to be champions of free trade around the world,” said Platten.

“Whatever happens, any new trading relationship is at least two and a half years away because it’s six months before they’ll press Article 50 and then there’s two years of negotiations. Businesses have got time to adjust and they’ve got time to lobby and to influence and get the best possible deal and that’s really the focus of the Chamber,” he continued.

Platten says the Chamber has been in conversation with the UK’s minister of transport Robert Goodwill and other officials about what the Brexit will mean for the nation’s maritime industry.

The Chamber has stated it is “ready to assist” with shaping shipping policy and will share its expertise on topics such as tonnage tax, implementing the Maritime Labour Convention, border controls and so on.

“We said that to the minister on Monday evening – we stand ready to help,” said Platten, adding that the minister is very keen to hear the views of industry.

Meanwhile, the UK Chamber’s policy team is working on a “manifesto” for publication in September this year. The document will be used in any negotiations that come in the future and will outline what makes the UK’s shipping industry more competitive than others.

“We’re working really hard and consulting with our members to identify where those opportunities may lie and find out what would be in the interests of the wider shipping community,” said Platten.

“We were a great maritime nation a week ago, and we’re a great maritime nation now,” the CEO said. “It ain’t going anywhere.”

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Ed Enos
    July 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Excellent! Yes, this is the positive attitude our industry should be embracing. An “opportunity” indeed. Start from scratch, be bold, think differently, do good by by your own nation, your ships, your crews, your maritime industry! Instead of listening to the (lazy) doom and gloom prognostications of those who wish for all the bad things on purpose (just so that their jobs don’t change), why not look at this BREXIT phase as a chance to change your regulatory environment in such a way that your industry is provided opportunities to see profitable success in the years ahead. I’ve begun to loathe all these self proclaimed experts who predicted the world coming to an end post-BREXIT….and enjoying it. They obviously wish no change, status quo, and benefit from nothing happening. They just wanted to go to work tomorrow and resume the usual chatter and sip their tea and well…you know…do nothing. Now, everyone has to get to work and perform, do things differently. Yes, it will be a headache and be time consuming and likely very frustrating. But can you imagine what it “could be” like if everyone worked towards success ahead. Stop looking behind and cultivating boorish bureaucracy behavior. Step up, do the work, and get it right this time.