Britain at risk of losing leading edge in maritime services

Britain at risk of losing leading edge in maritime services
# 09 September 2019 10:48 (UTC +04:00)

Britain’s position as a top hub for maritime services is being eroded by competition, a loss of shipping finance business and the removal of tycoon-friendly tax breaks, a report said, deepening uncertainty for its financial sector as Brexit nears, APA reports citing Reuters.

The UK has been a pivotal global shipping center for centuries, especially the City of London, and has dominated marine insurance, ship broking, shipping finance and other maritime services.

These contribute $5.6 billion a year to Britain’s economy, providing employment for more than 10,000 people in highly skilled jobs, according to a report by consultancy PwC, commissioned by trade association Maritime London.

But a shift in global shipping trade to Asia and tougher competition are adding to pressures on this niche sector, the report said.

“We estimate that if the UK had maintained its market share over the last two years, this would have resulted in an additional $700 million p.a. (annually) in GVA (gross value added) for the UK economy,” said the report, published in partnership with the City of London Corporation.

“Significant ground has been lost to international competitors in recent years. Competitors such as the U.S., China, Norway and particularly Singapore, are all challenging in key areas of development and we must react,” said Harry Theochari, chair of the separate Maritime UK body.

The report, launched at the start of London International Shipping Week, comes as Britain spins toward an election. Brexit remains up in the air, more than three years after Britons voted to leave the European Union. Options range from a turbulent “no-deal” exit to abandoning the whole endeavor.

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