Britain could be at risk of damaging a more than US$15 billion-a-year shipping industry if it does not secure significant reforms in its relationship with Europe, according to The Telegraph.
The shipping industry claims that Britain could be put at a competitive disadvantage if Eurocrats are able to strengthen their grip on regulation.
Guy Platten, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: “The UK has persistently tried to keep its foot on the brakes of 'ever closer union’. If it votes to stay in the EU without significant reforms, then the European Commission could see it as a green light to finally put its foot down on the accelerator. This will likely result in more, not less regulation.
“Access to the single market has helped to drive growth in trade with our closest neighbours. The loss of tariffs and increased competition in the supply chain has boosted custom, driven down costs and allowed the conditions for job creation, economic and social progress.
“But the attitude of the European Commission appears to be ‘regulate where possible’ and not ‘regulate where necessary’ – which has created a sense of ‘mission creep’ resulting in a centralisation of power in Brussels.”
David Balston, Policy Director of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said “The IMO creates a global level playing field. But when a regional power such as the EU creates its own regulation, then that global level playing field becomes distorted, and major maritime nations such as the UK feel the impact more than most.”