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The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Implications for the shipping industry

December 28, 2020

Under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the TCA), the EU and the UK have reached an agreement on their future relationship. Aside from the agreements around fishing quotas, the main implications for the maritime industry are as follows:

  • Free trade area between the UK and the EU - this will allow the UK and EU to trade in goods with each other without tariffs or quotas. Whilst the TCA has provisions to make customs arrangements for some goods and traders less onerous than they may otherwise have been, there will still be customs formalities to comply with, which may result in delays in port for some vessels or types of cargo.
  • International Maritime Services – these provisions guarantee the UK and the EU open and reciprocal access to maritime services, including the use of port infrastructure and services (such as pilots, berthing and loading/unloading facilities), access to and the use of maritime storage and warehousing and provisions. They also allow UK shipping companies to move empty containers and provide feeder services between ports in an EU Member State, subject to authorisation.
  • Maritime cabotage - There is no reciprocity between the EU and the UK on maritime cabotage: this is specifically excluded from the ambit of the Trade Agreement.
  • Climate Change - the Trade Agreement provides a commitment for the UK and the EU to co-operate on trade related aspects of climate change and to work together with the IMO to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote low carbon technologies and sustainable transport.