The old joke about time works on several levels and shows the relativity of time depends on the context – much like USGC type-approval and Brexit
Since Ballast Water Treatment Technology first appeared on the web in 2015, around 60 different and distinct ballast water products and services have been featured. The news that Hyundai’s Hi-Ballast system has been type-approved by the US Coast Guard (USCG) brings the number of approved systems to 11, with another 10 systems awaiting approval.
Some soft maths reveals that about a sixth of the ballast water management systems (BWMS) featured in Ballast Water Treatment Technology have gone on to achieve the coveted USCG type-approval status. A further bit of number crunching shows the average number of days between submission to the USCG and the granting of type-approval appears to be around 140 days, which must seem like glacial progress if you are a BWMS manufacturer.
However, 140 is also the number of days until Friday 29 March 2019 – also known as Brexit Day or the day the UK exits from the European Union.
Those 140 days will go in the blink of an eye for those negotiating the terms of the exit. It would appear from the UK point of view, negotiations are not going well.
The UK and EU have fundamental differences and a hard Brexit looks the likeliest outcome. A hard exit from the EU will see the UK treated as any other nation without specific bilateral trade agreements. The UK will revert to trading with the EU on WTO terms.
The immediate impact of a hard Brexit in 140 days’ time is likely to be a sharp fall in the value of sterling. I hasten to add that I am not acting as a financial advisor, but Brexit is a known unknown, so it is best to be prepared. Companies’ treasuries will have allowed for this situation by taking out currency options and swaps to hedge against such an event.
In the medium term, the impact on the BWMS industry could be the drifting apart of the regulatory environment between the UK and the EU. In theory, a post-Brexit UK Government could impose stricter or laxer regulations on a whole range of issues to gain a competitive advantage, which while not affecting the fundamentals of IMO ballast water treatment regime, could alter the way the BWMS industry interacts with the UK.
If you have any views on how Brexit will impact the BWMS industry, I would be interested to hear your opinion. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.