Seatrade Europe gets underway from September 6-8, 2017 in Hamburg and Brexit will be high on the agenda. At present, the cruise shipping sector is mulling the possible impact of Brexit and Britain’s negotiations with the European Commission on the industry. Seatrade requested diverse representatives of cruise ship companies in Hamburg to outline their ideas on possible scenarios before the fair.
No impact on shipping routes
Tim Reardon, Policy Director – Taxation, Ferry and Cruise, British Chamber of Shipping, said: “Despite endless punditry about how everything is caught up in uncertainty, the travel business is very much working on the assumption that life will continue much as it is now.” He added: “Such an approach is based in part on the fact that Brexit will make no difference to where ships may go or to the services they may offer. The regulatory frameworks of the UN and the OECD, which bind both the UK and the countries of the EU, ensure that there will be no dislocation to itineraries. British cruise ships will be free to continue sailing to EU ports, and European ships will be free to continue sailing to British ports, just as American and other ships are currently free to sail to both.”
Lobbying for sector’s interests during negotiations
Speaking from the perspective of a cruise line, Stuart Leven, Chairman, CLIA UK & Ireland, Vice President, EMEA and Managing Director, RCL Cruises Ltd, said: “The industry enjoys global frameworks which mitigate any risk to ongoing marine operations. However, the freedom of movement of our guests and the customs union are two areas, which will be determined during the Brexit negotiations. As negotiations start, ministers have been made aware of the potential impacts. It is critical that they listen to the industry, and that we collectively continue to lobby both sides of the debate through the full negotiation process”.
Close co-operation with Britain’s Ministry for Transport
Speaking from a legal perspective, Maria Pittordis, Partner, Head of Marine Trade & Energy for Hill Dickinson, said: “Consumers should have confidence and continue to book their cruises as Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is working closely together with DfT and the UK Chamber of Shipping to address legal issues that are relevant to cruises, ports and commercial shipping and must be resolved for 2019. The industry is addressing these in the appropriate manner including lobbying so as to ensure legal and regulatory provisions are addressed during the Brexit negotiations.”