A trumped up, little rocky outcrop in the North Atlantic has decided it no longer wants to remain within the European Union, a decision that overnight jettisons Britain – and more specifically London – from the maritime map.
London, for centuries, has claimed to be the centre of world shipping – a cluster that boasts bankers, lawyers, insurers and key institutions all within a square mile. Yes, it has, in all probability been overhauled by Singapore in recent years, in terms of vibrancy, but it was still very much in a podium position shipping-wise … until June 23.
Now, as the head of the body designed to promote the British capital as a shipping hub, Doug Barrow from Maritime London, confided with me in the wake of the vote, instability and uncertainty are inevitable as Britain enters “unchartered territory”.
In an exclusive interview with our site, Splash, the day ahead of the vote, the UK’s transport minister had warned: “Anything that adversely affects our trade will also, as day follows night, affect our ports and shipping industry.”
The UK’s decision to leave the EU has the potential to drive many of its maritime employees away, according to the results of a survey issued by industry recruitment group Faststream.
A survey to UK-based maritime employees, issued following the Brexit results, shows that over 39% of employees who wouldn’t previously have looked at a move away from the UK would now consider roles overseas, with a further 23% undecided.
Of course you can tell from the slant of this angle that I am a cheesed off Europhile Englishman… who just happens to be happily living in the south of France.
What I see happening in the coming weeks and months – besides a massive hit on the UK economy (and Scotland moving for independence) – is international shipping firms will make their London-plus-one move in Europe – retrenching staff to other cities in the EU to play it safe. If you happened to be, say, Hamburg, I’d recommend you get into high advertising mode right about now.