The fundamental acquis of the EU: 'Free movement of goods and persons' has been set as a priority for European shipowners amid Brexit negotiations, from early 2017. Around half of UK exports and imports are to and from the EU and most of it is done through ships. 

On this context, ECSA looks forward to an agreement which preserves the economic benefits of existing EU/UK trade and trade flows, safeguards shipping services, the employment of seafarers and the value of the wider maritime cluster.

Niels Smedegaard, ECSA President, said: “We need an agreement which will ensure the continuation of trade volumes and unimpeded trade movements across our shared borders. This will require a legal framework which allows these vital trades to continue to flow without delay or dislocation. The industry should be kept informed about the progress in order to be able to prepare and get ready in time.”


Brexit implications in shipping have been a main area of concern for UK-related industry players, with possible upcoming disruptions on freight routes or loss of existing passporting rights for marine insurance companies either immediately upon termination of the UK’s EU membership or at the end of any agreed transition period.

To this end, shipowners sent their priorities to the Commission’s chief negotiator Mr. Barnier regarding the next phase and discussed these with members of the European Commission Task Force on article 50 who joined the ECSA Board of Directors meeting.

Mr. Smedegaard added: “European shipping stands for quality shipping. It is in essence a global business, and best served by global rules and common standards. European shipowners would like to see the Brexit negotiations respect the need for a level playing field for EU and UK shipping. We encourage the EU and UK to be guided by the objective of conformity in legislation relating to maritime affairs.”