The British Exit from the European Union could mean positive and negative things for the UK and European shipping industry. However, there are more decisions to make than there are decisions made, and that means our discussion here is a preliminary look into how Brexit might affect UK shipping and maritime trade in the near future.


Will container ships miss out UK ports?

The good news is that British importers and exporters prefer direct mainline container services to the UK. They dislike feeder services from other ports because our small island, no matter what the political situation, still imports and exports at a rate that is significant to container companies.

Calling directly at UK ports, even if the UK enters a small recession, saves container shipping companies money and UK volumes are more than large enough to justify direct services.

For context, the UK imports more products from Asia than any other Northern European country – including Germany. Currently, fifteen out of seventeen Asia to Northern Europe loops hit British ports and it is unlikely that this will change. What could change, however, is the tariffs that are placed on these goods.

Will maritime traffic increase or decrease?

Though Asian shipping will still be strong, maritime traffic to the UK will be affected by the economic uncertainty. Though this seems like a negative factor, certain industry experts stress that there are undeniable benefits to the slow down. What they mean is that bilateral trade agreements will be strengthened in other areas, meaning that shipping to and from countries such as India and Canada (and commonwealth countries in general) will be made easier over time.

Patrick Walters, Peel Ports’ Group Commercial Director, suggests that in particular the UK should seek to strike new deals with North American and South American countries. Without needing to seek approval from 27 other member nations, the UK will find trade agreements that suit its particular industries better than before the exit.

shipping to the UK
Will the UK benefit from shunning EU rules and regulations?

The All-Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group met to discuss the situation and the CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping said the UK maritime industry can make Brexit work. Though there will be challenges, trade will continue.

Nothing has changed at the moment and the UK Chamber of Shipping believes that as and when the UK exits, it will then decide which directives are adopted within UK law. All of this takes time and meanwhile the shipping industry will work on a day to day basis, even though behind the scenes many details and protocols will need to be worked out between nations.

As an international concern, UK ship-owners are naturally in favour of free trade and free movement of labour. This is because the industry relies on many workers from around the world with a specialised skill set.


Overall, goods and services will continue to move freely as trade is essential to all nations. However, there may be delays in the months ahead while the finer details are decided upon and big decisions are finally made. Whatever the political weather, you can rely on your shipping and courier services to strive to offer the best in terms of service and delivery times.

Williamson Global Logistics is here to help you get your goods where you want, when you want. Wherever you are in the UK to wherever your parcel is going to, trust our expert team to carry and deliver any size and type of load via any means throughout the UK, Europe or worldwide. We have an extensive fleet of vehicles ranging from small vans to artics and with our extensive knowledge and excellent relationships with most leading airlines and shipping lines, we are able to accommodate any shipment – from a single letter to an aircraft engine. We even offer aerospace, biomedical and and hazardous goods courier services. For more information, contact us today.