The Bulletin Panama reported that a report by KPMG, commissioned by the Department for Transport, recommends that the Ship Register become a “govco”, a privately held state-owned company that is subject to government oversight but has more commercial freedoms, including over employment terms.
Britain used to have the biggest merchant fleet in the world, but the number of UK registered vessels has declined sharply since the 1970s, even though London remains the legal and financial hub for the global shipping industry, says a report in FT.
The UK fleet has shrunk 18 per cent in the past five years and accounts for only 0.8 per cent of global tonnage. This is despite a 5 per cent increase in the total number of ships worldwide to 56,759 during the same period.
The UK Chamber of Shipping said the commercialization of the Ship Register has acquired greater urgency in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
Should a deal go ahead, the register would become one of a number of government organisations given the new status since 2010 in a move aimed at shrinking the state and instilling private sector discipline.