Scottish Independence Vote Worries Shipping Industry

By George Backwell
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Scots flag: File image

If the Scots vote for independence in September's referendum, it could hit the country's shipping and offshore maritime sector, according to a survey by leading international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens, cited in Maritime London’s fortnightly news – ‘London Matters’.

The survey of leading members of the shipping industry found that 55 per cent of respondents believed a yes vote damage the industry.

However, 74 per cent said they had no plan of action if Scotland voted to abandon the Union, indicating a high level of confidence in a no vote on 18 September.

According to the Moore Stephens survey, 74 per cent said they had no plan of action if Scotland voted to abandon the Union, indicating a high level of confidence in a no vote on 18 September.

Some respondents didn't mince their words when looking at the prospect of an independent Scotland, “We have no confidence that a Scottish government would properly take account of shipping’s needs,” said one. While another added, “Scotland does not have the necessary infrastructure to replace the UK Merchant Marine. We will change the home port of our vessels from Aberdeen to London.


The 45 per cent who already had a business relationship with Scotland were the most despondent about a yes vote, with 69 per cent believing it would have a negative impact.

However, the figures were not all doom and gloom for Yes Scotland, with 57 per cent of those who did not have existing business relationships in Scotland saying secession would be a net positive.

According to Maritime London, The UK Chamber of Shipping has also been looking closely at the issues. On Tuesday 19 August, at Northern Marine Management in Clydebank, it held the last of three  seminars leading up to the referendum and provided members with a final opportunity to discuss the impacts of independence on the shipping industry with the minister before the Scottish Parliament entered a 'purdah' period.

Chamber members heard from the Scottish minister for transport, Keith Brown MSP and officials from HM Treasury, as well as discussing options for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Government in the event of a “No” vote.

The UK Chamber’s chief executive, Guy Platten, presented the minister with two papers outlining the Chamber’s vision for a national ship register and taxation regime for shipping in an independent Scotland, both of which will now be considered by the Government.

Source: Maritime London

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