As the United Kingdom stopped being a member of the European Union on January 31, 2020, European shipowners have called on both UK and EU regulators to continue their close alignment when it comes to shipping issues.

The European shipowners emphasized the importance of including maritime transport in the upcoming trade negotiations, the European Community Shipowners’Associations (ECSA) said in a statement.

“ECSA insists that the only and most economically sensible future is for the EU and the UK to remain an integrated and seamless shipping centre.”

Brexit discussions have brought to the forefront how interrelated EU-UK supply and logistics chains are. Maintaining the fluidity of EU-UK trade must, therefore, be a priority, the trade association believes.

“Shipping companies are part and parcel of this smooth-running business reality. In addition, mutual market access to provide maritime services, in areas such as the offshore supply sector and regular domestic trades, is imperative in sustaining those close relations going forward,” ECSA added.

“European shipowners strongly believe the current interconnection of companies and services across both sides of the Channel should be preserved to ensure the well-functioning of both the EU/EEA and UK economies,” Martin Dorsman, ECSA’s Secretary General, commented.

“It is essential that we secure the fluidity of trade, continued market access and easy movement of staff and passengers while maintaining the current level playing field between the EU and the UK,” Dorsman continued.

ECSA represents the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway. European shipowners control 40% of the global commercial fleet and provide 2.1 million Europeans with careers both onboard and ashore.