The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) has unveiled its new list of priorities, which will be requested for consideration during the Brexit negotiations.
ECSA has outlined three immediate priorities in the list, and has also urged the relevant negotiation authorities to facilitate frictionless traffic by sea between the UK and the EU, following the completion of the Brexit process.
The association has also asked for free movement of seafarers, onshore staff and passengers by sea following the UK's departure.
ECSA has further demanded to receive continued market access to the domestic trades and the offshore sector in its new list of priorities, and is urging the authority to maintain the existing operating climate as far as feasibly possible.
ECSA secretary general Patrick Verhoeven said: “European ship owners strongly believe that to the extent possible, EU and UK should aim for conformity in legislation relating to maritime affairs.
“It should really be recognised as a guiding objective for the Brexit negotiations.
“Concerning market access, the UK’s domestic and offshore market is open. Likewise, EU markets are fully open. This reciprocal market access should be preserved.”
According to the association, nearly half of all UK exports and imports are currently being conducted to and from the EU, and the majority of this trade is done via shipping.
Traffic volumes both over and under the Dover Strait separating Great Britain from continental Europe reportedly rose from one million lorries in 1992 to four million in 2015, following the removal of customs and health controls at EU and UK at ports the beginning of 1993.
ECSA noted that reverting to the Customs Union's previous situation and imposing extensive border procedures would cause heavy congestion at Dover Strait ports.