On the week after the UK voted to leave the EU, UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Guy Platten says the shipping industry needs to do what it always has done – keep calm and carry on.
Fundamentally, and for the time being, nothing has changed. There is uncertainty, yes, but the years of experience and expertise our industry means that we do not undertake kneejerk reactions. It’s a mature response, but more importantly, it’s the right one.
"UK is a great maritime nation, dependent on shipping last week. And it is a great maritime nation dependent on shipping today. So many of those factors that have made the UK such a great place to do business in the past are the same today – from our highly skilled workforce to our world-renowned business services sector," Guy says.
We talk often about how shipping moves 95% of the UK’s international trade, and the figure for global trade is broadly the same. What that means from a policy perspective is that we are a pro-free trade industry. Unashamedly, categorically pro-free trade.
The UK’s negotiating position with the European Union will in my view be strong, and I’ve been heartened this week by reports that numerous countries, including major economies such as India, have already approached the UK regarding future trade deals. There is opportunity here.
Business thrives on certainty. But it also thrives on opportunity and, yes, to some degree risk. In the absence of short term certainty, perhaps we can begin to look at what new opportunities will emerge - not least, the opportunity to reclaim centre stage at the IMO and once again drive the future agenda.
It is an opportunity we will be taking. But now more than ever we must work as a team, across the whole industry. The chamber’s resources are always at the disposal of our members, and we will help in any way we can as you begin to consider the impact and opportunities of Brexit. For the good of the industry as a whole, and indeed for the country, as the headline suggests, we will keep calm and carry on.