The letter underlines the economic repercussions on both the EU and the UK, in case of a no-deal scenario at this late stage. It also highlights that the key priority for the industry is a negotiated settlement that allows time to prepare.

Given the importance of an orderly exit and the severe consequences for the European economy, which is very well known to you and your team, we fully support your efforts to reach a final agreement acceptable for both sides and safeguarding key European interests

said Martin Dorsman, ECSA's Secretary-General.

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The letter adds that the European shipping industry regrets that despite the much-appreciated hard work and commitment over the years to make an orderly Brexit possible, all those efforts did not yet lead to a final agreement.

Bob Sanguinetti, Chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, also commentedf on the letter, saying that:

We have been working closely with our members, the UK government and European shipowners over the past three years. We continue to believe that a negotiated settlement which allows the continued free flow of trade between the UK and the EU is the best outcome for all parties

He furthermore urged the EU and the UK to collaborate during the coming weeks to ensure the achievement of a negotiated settlement that includes a transition period and avoid a damaging no-deal Brexit.

The letter also set out the priorities that should be addressed for the future relations between the UK and the EU, with much emphasis being given on trade.

As it says, the reintroduction of customs and other checks will have a heavy and immediate impact on shipowners, their customers, and ports, as well as on border management administrations. These could mean longer port transit times, pressure on port areas, the diversion of flows to available crossing points and the disorganisation of channels.

In addition, the new procedures will also include further costs, at a time where there is not enough staff to carry them out. As a result, checks should be enabled so that physical infrastructure has sufficient capacity.

What is more, the EU should facilitate sufficient border inspection points for both phytosanitary, veterinary and livestock checks. Digital solutions throughout the whole supply chain of EU-UK trade, through inter-connected systems, are also crucial to ensure the continued fluidity of trade.

We furthermore urge for regulatory alignment and reciprocal recognition of standards and controls in a future deal to enable the movement of goods that is as free as possible post-Brexit

the letter calls.

See the whole letter below