Sweden’s Stena and Bermuda-registered Stolt-Nielsen informed that they are reviewing their UK-registered ships ahead of Brexit. Such a development could complicate any attempts by the UK to secure extra space on ships to deal with potential disruption, in case of no-deal Brexit.
According to Reuters, any loss of ships will hurt the UK’s ship registry. Namely, shipping companies in many flag states pay corporation tax according to ship tonnage and not profit.
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Currently, Stena has chemical tankers and other ships registered to the UK, but is niw reviewing the other ships in the UK fleet. As for Stolt-Nielsen, which includes ships and terminals, it is also examining its UK-flagged ships.
Before these two companies, British ferry and shipping freight operator P&O announced its decision to change the registration of its UK vessels to Cyprus ahead of Brexit, in order to keep its tax arrangements in the bloc.
As of January 30 2019, there were 1,306 vessels flying the British flag representing just over 16 million gross tonnage. This is less than 1,317 ships in 2017, 1,328 in 2016, 1,330 in 2015 and 1,327 in 2014.