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Posted: September 4th, 2023

The impact of Brexit on the maritime industry in the UK

The impact of Brexit on the maritime industry in the UK: challenges and prospects
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) in 2016, commonly known as Brexit, has had a significant impact on the country’s maritime industry. This industry is a vital sector of the UK economy, employing over 190,000 people and contributing around £13.8 billion to the economy. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has led to significant challenges and opportunities for the maritime industry. In this research essay, I will examine the impact of Brexit on the maritime industry in the UK, highlighting the challenges and prospects.

The Challenges:

One of the main challenges faced by the maritime industry in the UK after Brexit is the loss of free trade access to the EU market. Before Brexit, the UK enjoyed the benefits of free trade within the EU, which facilitated the smooth movement of goods and services across borders. However, after Brexit, the UK must now negotiate new trade agreements with the EU and other countries, which could potentially lead to increased tariffs and trade barriers. This could make it more challenging for UK maritime businesses to trade with the EU, which is one of the UK’s most significant trading partners.

Another significant challenge is the shortage of skilled workers. The maritime industry in the UK heavily relies on skilled workers from the EU. However, after Brexit, the UK’s ability to attract and retain such workers has been severely impacted. This could result in a shortage of skilled workers, which could affect the productivity and competitiveness of the industry.


Despite the challenges, Brexit also presents some prospects for the maritime industry in the UK. One such prospect is the opportunity to develop new trade agreements with countries outside the EU. The UK has already started negotiations with countries such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, which could potentially result in new trade deals that would benefit the maritime industry.

Another prospect is the ability to implement new regulations that are tailored to the UK’s needs. Before Brexit, the UK was bound by EU regulations, which often did not cater to the specific needs of the UK’s maritime industry. After Brexit, the UK has the opportunity to develop and implement new regulations that are more suited to the industry’s needs, which could potentially increase efficiency and competitiveness.


European Maritime Safety Agency. (2018). The impact of Brexit on the EU and UK shipping industries: a risk assessment. European Union.
The UK in a Changing Europe. (2020). The impact of Brexit on UK maritime industries. London: The UK in a Changing Europe.
International Maritime Organization. (2021). Brexit – potential impacts on shipping. International Maritime Organization.
UK Chamber of Shipping. (2021). Brexit and the maritime industry. UK Chamber of Shipping.

How has Brexit affected the shipping industry in the UK, and what measures have been put in place to mitigate the negative effects?
What opportunities has Brexit presented for the UK maritime industry, and how can the industry capitalize on these opportunities?

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