National maritime strategy vital for jobs and growth, says new UK Chamber President

UK Chamber of Shipping President Kenneth MacLeod

UK Chamber of Shipping President Kenneth MacLeod

The new President of the UK Chamber of Shipping, Kenneth MacLeod, today (Thursday) called on Government to seize the opportunity to use shipping as a conduit for economic growth.

Mr MacLeod, Chairman of Stena Line (UK), used his accession speech to draw attention to how the maritime industry can play its part saying: “When the national economy continues to struggle, when we are faced with unprecedented challenges both at home and abroad and when we know we can deliver prosperity for Britain, the maritime voice simply cannot afford to be silent.”

He cited the 300,000 jobs supported by the UK shipping industry and its £12.5 billion economic contribution as justification for being vocal on the sector’s behalf on these big issues.

“My single most important priority this year is to help implement the recommendation in the Heseltine Report that demands Government and industry work more closely than ever before.

“Perhaps the greatest achievement of the UK Chamber and Maritime UK in the past year, has been to prepare the ground for a ministerial-level, inter-departmental national maritime strategy.  Our task this year – with government and our industry partners – is to deliver it.”

The speech also highlighted challenges posed by potential Scottish independence, and uncertainty around the EU and raised specific policy concerns of members, pledging support for campaigns around damaging sulphur regulations, piracy and red tape burdens, amongst others.

Marcus Bowman, a partner of Holman Fenwick Willan, is set to work alongside Mr MacLeod as Vice President from today. He is a specialist in marine litigation and claims, and the firm’s former Global Head of Shipping.

As a fifth generation seafarer, Mr MacLeod started his career as a junior rating before working his way up to Managing Director of Northern Marine and a Commissioner of the Northern Lighthouse Board, before his current roles as Chairman of Stena and Director of CMAL, the Scottish government’s ferry owning company. Reflecting on these roots, he expressed a particular commitment to protect training opportunities in the industry: “Although today one million young people are unemployed in this country, we are an industry that is creating jobs – and I want to ensure others have the opportunities I had, so that some kid scrubbing pots in a ship galley today could one day lead the UK Chamber of Shipping in decades to come.”

Mr MacLeod will take over the post from Helen Deeble, who has led the UK Chamber through a year of enormous change. He praised “the massive contribution made” and congratulated her on her accomplishments.

Ms Deeble ended her term as the first female President of the UK Chamber with the launch of the Annual Review 2012-13, unveiling a bold redesign reflecting the organisation’s forward-looking approach.

UK Chamber Director-General Mark Brownrigg said:“I’m delighted that Ken MacLeod is set to become President and look forward to seeing him lead the team over the coming year, supported by Marcus Bowman.

“Ken has been a wise and motivated Vice-President throughout the past year and we are have full confidence in his determination to help drive the implementation of our shared goal – a cross-party, ministerial level, national maritime strategy.”