United Kingdom

  • Cuxhaven prepares for Brexit

    Cuxhaven companies and their customers discuss solution strategies with representatives from government and administration

    (f.l.t.r.) Kai-Uwe Bielefeld, district administrator of the district of Cuxhaven, Dr. Ulrich Getsch, Lord Mayor of Cuxhaven, Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to Germany, Rachel King, EU & Economic Counsellor at the British Embassy, Hans-Peter Zint, Chairman of the Cuxhaven Port Association, and David McAllister, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony. Picture source: Thomas Sassen/Cuxhavener Nachrichten.Berlin/Cuxhaven, 16 October 2018 - As a major port for traffic to the United Kingdom (UK) as well as for the international fishing industry, Cuxhaven is expected to be strongly affected by the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. For this reason, the Cuxhaven Port Association (Hafenwirtschaftsgemeinschaft Cuxhaven) hosted a parliamentary evening in Berlin on Monday, 15 October 2018. The aim was to intensify preparations for the changes that will take place on 29 March 2019, together with representatives from government, administration and the business community.

    According to the British government, around 90 percent of the withdrawal agreement from the European Union have been finalised, roughly half a year before the official date. Great Britain is the fifth most important trading partner for the German economy, so imports and exports would be considerably impaired by the introduction of customs clearance procedures. At the port of Cuxhaven, which handles more than six departures a week to English ports, around 70 to 80 percent of traffic would be affected by these changes.

    Like many companies and organisations, the Cuxhaven business community has already been dealing with the possible effects of the Brexit in the long term. Among other things, the processes required for customs clearance were developed in consultation with shipping companies, terminal operators, freight forwarders, shippers and customs. The employees of the companies are prepared for new requirements through training and special qualifications. New IT systems for terminal management and electronic interfaces to customs systems are also being introduced.

    Challenges for local companies

    At CuxDay, HWG-Chairman Hans-Peter Zint confirmed that, like many German companies, the port industry in Cuxhaven is preparing for a "chaotic Brexit". "We are currently assuming the worst case scenario and preparing our processes and transports for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU customs union and the internal market without an agreement. Nevertheless, we want to do everything we can to ensure that this does not happen. The United Kingdom is and will remain an important trading partner for Cuxhaven. Today we have achieved our goal of creating an understanding of Cuxhaven's special situation among politicians and the administration in order to develop common solutions. Cuxhaven will be Brexit-ready on 29 March 2019 and will therefore continue to be a reliable partner for fast supply chains to and from England."

    In his speech to around 100 guests, Kell Robdrup, Senior Vice President of the shipping company DFDS A/S, also adressed the company's preparations: "In order to be ready for the challenges that Brexit will pose to DFDS and our customers, DFDS is striving to ensure a smooth transition to new customs and government requirements for trade and immigration from 29 March 2019. These include new business offerings such as customs clearance itself, storage of cargo and the provision of warehouses for industrial customers in order to build stock to ensure smooth delivery to their customers. DFDS is in the process of building the expertise and finding the space needed for this at our terminals."

    On the customer side, Stephan Freismuth, Customs Manager at BMW Group, addressed the urgency of the required processes: "For the BMW Group, the United Kingdom is not only our fourth-largest sales market, but the vehicles and vehicle parts we produce there are also predominantly exported to the continent. Therefore we believe the timely adaptation of customs and logistics processes is essential if business continuity between the UK and the EU is to be maintained."

    EU summit to bring clarity

    The speakers included representatives of the business community as well as representatives of the ministries. Dr. Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, gave an insight into the preparations of the Federal Government: "The customs administration will not take on any new tasks post-Brexit, but the scope of familiar tasks will increase. For this reason, the proper performance of tasks will be expanded in line with demand, especially at the major international seaports and airports, such as Cuxhaven, particularly in the area of customs clearance. The draft budget for 2019 provides for a considerable number of additional posts for customs." He also called on all affected companies to make use of existing information services such as www.zoll.de and to review the necessary preparatory measures.

    British Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood welcomed the guests to the event: “We have a crucial week ahead of us with the October European Council just a few days away. The time has come for compromise –all sides must now find the necessary political will to design a new relationship which does justice to our uniquely close ties and to our shared European values. The UK and Europe are bound by centuries of shared history which stretch far beyond the existence of the EU. We stand for the same values and interests in global affairs. Our security is inextricably linked, as is our prosperity. The day the UK leaves the EU it will become a trading partner to the EU on the scale of the US and China.”

    David McAllister, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, emphasised the importance of the agreement for the port location: "Cuxhaven will be particularly affected by Brexit as a port and fishing location. Everything must be done to ensure that the access rights and fishing quotas of the German fishing industry are maintained. Only if an agreement is reached now will there be a 21-month transitional period during which both sides can negotiate a future trade agreement and cooperation on fisheries policy. The summit meeting of EU leaders in Brussels this week will be crucial. There must be clear progress. Time is of the essence!"

    On 17 and 18 October, the leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels to discuss the current state of negotiations with the UK and the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

     

    About HWG

    The Cuxhaven Port Association (HWG) represents the interests of Cuxhaven’s maritime companies, institutions and private individuals united by the common goal of marketing and further developing the port at the mouth of the river Elbe. The HWG also promotes Cuxhaven’s standing as the most important port site for offshore wind energy in Germany. Current news about the HWG can be found on the Homepage, on LinkedIn and Twitter.

     

    Press contact details for Hafenwirtschaftsgemeinschaft Cuxhaven e.V.
    Gwendolyn Dünner
    Medienbüro am Reichstag GmbH
    Im Haus der Bundespressekonferenz
    Reinhardtstr. 55
    10117 Berlin
    Phone +49 (30) 20 61 41 30 41
    Fax +49 (30)-30 87 29 95
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



     

  • Cuxhaven and Brexit

    Cuxport and DFDS give a presentation at an event hosted by the Nautical Club Cuxhaven

    (v.l.n.r.): Philipp Rademann, Geschäftsführer der Geschäftsstelle Cuxhaven der IHK Stade, Hans-Peter Zint, Vorsitzender der HWG, Brigitte Langenhagen, ehemalige Abgeordnete im EU-Parlament und Vize-Präsidentin des FP-AP Council of Europe, Marcus Braue, Niederlassungsleiter der DFDS in Cuxhaven, Arne Ehlers, Vorstand des Nautischen Vereins. Copyright: Joachim Wöhlkens

    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.

  • New Silk Road: Closing the gap to Great Britain via Cuxhaven

    HWG member DFDS establishes connection between China and UK

    copyright: DFDSCuxhaven, 22 November 2018 - China's mega project, the New Silk Road, is to intensify international trade between Asia and Europe in the long term through a stronger infrastructure. The project also offers new opportunities for the Port of Cuxhaven. Due to the increasing demand in the United Kingdom for goods from China, the HWG member DFDS A/S has now established the last link of the transport chain between Great Britain and China via Cuxhaven. DFDS organises and carries out the onward road transport to the Cuxport terminal of goods arriving from China in Hamburg by rail, as well as the following sea transport from Cuxhaven to Immingham.

    The HWG member DFDS currently operates the route from Cuxhaven to the United Kingdom with the ships "Jutlandia Seaways" and "Stena Foreteller". The frequency is five to six departures per week, depending on the cargo volume, with a transit time of 20 to 22 hours. The flows of goods from China mainly come from the Zhengzhou region in central China. But there is also demand for transport services in the other direction from England via Cuxhaven to China. The goods are currently mainly supplier parts from the automotive sector.

    "The connection is very well received. In our concept, the customer has only one contact for the entire journey from Hamburg to delivery in England and this has gained approval in the market," explains Marcus Braue, Branch Manager of DFDS Germany ApS & Co. KG in Cuxhaven.

    After the start in 2008, it took some time before the train connection between China and Europe was established. However, according to estimates by Deutsche Bahn, around 90,000 containers, a hundred times as many as in 2011, will be moved on the line in 2018. DFDS also expects the volume of rail traffic between China and continental Europe to increase further.

    "We are planning to further expand this interesting business segment, so that we can offer our customers real added value due to our short transit time and high frequency. Also with the background of the threat of ‘Brexit’ and the required additional capacities in unaccompanied transport, we see ourselves very well positioned together with our partners on both sides," adds Marcus Braue.

     

     

    About HWG

    The Cuxhaven Port Association (HWG) represents the interests of Cuxhaven’s maritime companies, institutions and private individuals united by the common goal of marketing and further developing the port at the mouth of the river Elbe. The HWG also promotes Cuxhaven’s standing as the most important port site for offshore wind energy in Germany. Current news about the HWG can be found on the Homepage, on LinkedIn and Twitter.

     

    Press contact details for Hafenwirtschaftsgemeinschaft Cuxhaven e.V.
    Gwendolyn Dünner
    Medienbüro am Reichstag GmbH
    Im Haus der Bundespressekonferenz
    Reinhardtstr. 55
    10117 Berlin
    Phone +49 (30) 20 61 41 30 41
    Fax +49 (30) 30 87 29 95
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.