Congratulations letter to Secretary of State
Dear Secretary of State
I would like to congratulate you on behalf of the UK Chamber of Shipping on your appointment as Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. We appreciate our strong relationship with officials in your department and this relationship will be important as we consider the range of items on the UK’s current maritime agenda.
Our most immediate concern is the security of UK seafarers and UK ships in the Arabian Gulf. The threat Iran poses to free navigation through this vital international artery is of profound concern. We are working at pace and very closely with your officials in the Maritime Security and Resilience Division and with the National Maritime Information Centre, MoD operational and policy staffs and FCO to ensure everything possible is being done to secure the release of the Stena Impero and her crew. We wish to see de-escalation but cannot compromise on the freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz. We need confidence restored and a return to business as usual as quickly as possible, without which the UK flag and economy will suffer.
The prospect of the UK’s almost imminent exit from the EU is already having a severe impact on UK shipping in terms of business confidence and revenues. It is essential we are given clarity as soon as possible. The UK Chamber has worked extensively with your officials and with those at HMRC on mitigating the risks of a No Deal. We share the majority view of UK industry that a No Deal exit will be deeply damaging in the short to medium term to our industry.
More positively the Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy which you have inherited provides an encouraging and ambitious template for improving economic growth. We recognise the ambition to champion our maritime competitive advantage and support the Government’s Clean Maritime Plan. Our members have consistently led the markets efforts to improve environmental performance and are committed to the IMO target of a 50% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.
I welcome the opportunity to meet you at your earliest convenience to discuss how we advance our mutual interests in UK shipping.
Michael J Bibby