Boris Johnson has unveiled proposals to transform London into a shipping hub post-Brexit to rival that of Singapore and harking back to the capital’s past, with the city serving as the most distinguished trade port in the world until the second world war, after which the Thames found itself unable to cope with the containerisation and creation of cargo ships.
Plans include revamping shipping tax laws in the UK to allow more vessels to be classed as ships, a move that could potentially see up to £3.75 billion raised over three years, the Daily Mail reports.
The way that tonnage tax is calculated could also be changed, which could see 2,500 jobs directly created and a further 25,000 in related sectors.
Speaking to the Financial Times, tax partner at Clyde & Co David Blumenthal explained that once the country is no longer “constrained” by EU state aid, it could have greater opportunities to take steps to make the UK a more attractive prospect for shipping companies.
Changes in rules could also see the government underwriting the cost of training cadets, which is currently paid for by firms. This cost is viewed as something of a hindrance, deterring people from registering in the UK in greater numbers.
Under EU rules, paying for this would be considered as a subsidy – but once the UK leaves the EU, these rules will cease to apply.
A recent report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development suggested that maritime trade is forecast to rise by 4.8 per cent next year, up from the expected 4.1 per cent drop in global sea trade in 2020.
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