London is in danger of losing its position as a global maritime center.
Although the city still maintains its predominance in the maritime world, it is at risk of declining influence over the next decade, according to a survey of young shipping professionals.
Almost 70 percent of young professionals by the Shipping Professional Network warned that London could lose its influence unless specific measures are put in place to address the key challenges to its future development.
Respondents were provided with a list of key challenges facing London in its attempts to remain a relevant global maritime center and asked to choose the three options that they considered to be most important, in order of priority. The leading choice was “competitiveness,” followed by “taxation” and “the ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment.”
The survey, which was conducted in cooperation with shipping consultancy Moore Stephens, canvassed the opinions of young professionals working primarily in the shipowning, shipbroking and management, chartering, advisory and associated industries.
Other concerns cited by respondents were the high cost of doing business in London and the difficulty of attracting university graduates to work in the city.
One respondent warned that the use of English law in shipping contracts makes them expensive and uncertain in a time of rapid global changes.
Nevertheless, a number of respondents acknowledged London’s traditional strength in the professional services sector relating to the maritime industries, with one emphasizing, “The high-value professional services such as finance, insurance, P&I, law and shipbroking underline the prime importance of having a central London office.”
Another said, “As long as IMO, the P&I clubs and NGOs are based in London, it will always be a maritime business hub.” Elsewhere it was noted, “London must concentrate on its strengths in the legal, insurance and financial sectors to raise its shipping profile and attract fresh talent,” and, “London is competitive because a huge proportion of global commodity trade is centered there.”