Danish Shipping take in Brexit briefing in Immingham

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Jun 2017

A SPECIAL study trip from Denmark – arguably North East Lincolnshire's strongest tie with Europe – has taken in a Brexit briefing in Immingham.

Members of Danish Shipping, formerly the Danish Shipowners Association, were joined by Danish journalists at the UK's biggest port. They were briefed on some of the scenarios that may emerge once negotiations are completed, with DFDS hosting.

Jens Nielsen, commercial director of ABP, returned to his old stomping ground of Nordic House, speaking alongside current managing director of DFDS Seaways Plc, Sean Potter, and Alistair Eagles, chief executive of Seatruck.

The panel represented shipping and port activities across the UK, the North Sea, as well as operations in Ireland and Irish Sea crossings.

The visitors took part in a question and answer session, during which the consensus was that a smooth Brexit is the desired outcome; that international trade will continue and that UK, Irish and European consumers will still need to import and export food.

It was noted that the desire among shipping and logistics companies in Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland was for a status quo; business as usual without extensive border hold-ups.

Mr Potter and Mr Eagles both agreed that roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferry operators needed minimal hold ups at ports to prevent traffic backlogs or "stacking" as seen sporadically at Dover when – as a result of bottlenecks – the M2 becomes a giant lorry park.

It was underlined that at ferry ports, should increased cargo checks by customs become the norm, the resulting slow-down in the free movement would require investment in more storage space for trailers and containers, driving-up the cost of freight handling, which would feed through to higher consumer and industrial goods prices.

The briefing went on to highlight the need to be able to recruit sufficient manpower to run shipping and logistics businesses.

Current crewing arrangements, with seafarers from many nations, results in few shortages of skilled staff and while a reduction in the pool of truck drivers would increase the number of unaccompanied trailers on RoRo crossings – indeed it is inefficient for drivers to accompany their loads – the need for a full complement of ship's crew is a given.

All who spoke agreed the UK Government has been positively engaging with shipping and port operators so far.

Mr Potter said: "The visit gave us the opportunity to show the shipping and logistics sector is taking a positive stance to making Brexit work. The UK Government and the industry meet frequently to achieve "business as usual".

"Brexit is going to happen and we will treat it as another part of running our services as efficiently as possible. We are looking at how we can screen cargo before it arrives at ports, thus avoiding bottlenecks. Other measures similarly being developed will aim for a smooth Brexit."

The Delegation included Lisbeth Kjær Larsen, Rasmus Bebe and Jacob K Clasen of Danish Shipping; Jacob Brejnebøl Knudsen, JP Finans; Emma Wahlberg, Clipper (Seatruck); Nicolai Østergaard, Søfart; Martin Uhlefeldt, Maritime Danmark; Gert Jakobsen, DFDS; Jonathan Rying Larsen, Børsen; Lasse Friis, Berlingske Business; Nicolai Bro Jöncke, Norden; Mikkel Elbek Linnet, Maersk Line; Nina Lomborg, Torm; Jens Søndergaard, J Lauritzen Jens Frederik Hansen and Mette Jørvad of A2SEA.

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