Cuxhaven and Brexit
Cuxport and DFDS give a presentation at an event hosted by the Nautical Club Cuxhaven
Whether it happens in October or in the next few months, Brexit is coming closer and, despite solid preparations, Cuxhaven’s businesses are anxiously looking toward Great Britain, where Prime Minister May, at least for now, still does not have a parliamentary majority for the exit deal with the EU. Brexit was a topic of the regular monthly evening event of the Cuxhaven Nautical Club (Nautischer Verein Cuxhaven) on 18 March 2019. Cuxhaven Port Association (HWG) members Cuxport and DFDS, represented by Hans-Peter Zint and Marcus Braue, respectively, shared their opinions regarding current events as well as regarding the concrete preparations which have been made by the port-based businesses.
To start with, the Nautical Club board member Arne Ehlers introduced the program and gave the podium over to Brigitte Langenhagen, a former EU Parliament member and now the vice president of FP-AP Council of Europe (European Association of former members of parliament of the member states of the Council of Europe). She summarized the political situation and also advocated for the European Union, in particular, as a project of peace.
Philipp Rademann, general manager of the Cuxhaven office of the Stade Chamber of Industry (IHK Stade) and Commerce, addressed the importance of Brexit for small and medium-sized companies. “The IHK Stade for the Elbe-Weser Region advises members comprehensively in this difficult situation,” reported Rademann. Frequently, contract terms were a focus of such consultations. There are many aspects which must be taken into account, for example limiting exchange rate risks. Likewise, existing contracts should be examined in order to prevent a scenario in which British customs duties are imposed upon suppliers who are based in the European Union.
Subsequently, Hans-Peter Zint, Chairman of the HWG and general manager at Cuxport, and Marcus Braue, branch manager of DFDS in Cuxhaven, emphasized the importance of Brexit for port cargo volumes in Cuxhaven: “The specialization of the port in UK traffic – after all, these connections, including the almost daily DFDS ship connections to Immingham, represent more than 80 percent of the port’s cargo volume – meant for Cuxhaven and the involved actors that there was no alternative to permanently and ever more intensively working on the topic of Brexit since the UK’s decision in favor of leaving,” said Marcus Braue. Indeed, Cuxhaven’s businesses have been preparing via regular discussions with customers, shipowners, partners and customs. The necessary IT systems have been adjusted and employees have been trained. “The core goal is that all stakeholders, whether it be exporters, transport services providers or customs, can work together when it comes to introducing customs formalities. For this, we have established the necessary foundation,” said Zint. “At the same time, Brexit offers Cuxhaven a chance to prove itself thanks to these comprehensive preparations.” In total, all participants in the event were optimistic about Cuxhaven’s Brexit preparations – whether in the context of a treaty or a No-Deal Brexit.