Going For Growth: A National Maritime Strategy

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The UK shipping, ports and maritime business sectors have managed to survive the grim realities of the global economic crisis. Together the sectors support 535,000 UK jobs and contribute £32bn to the economy, with shipping moving 95% of the UK’s international trade. But even the humblest student of the industry will know that the UK’s global seniority in the industry has for some time been under threat from emerging maritime centres abroad.

It is for that reason that Maritime UK has actively campaigned for Government to work with industry to create a cross-departmental national maritime strategy – designed to help grow the economy and preserve our status as a world maritime leader. Now, Government has listened.

Following a commitment made by Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond at the UK Chamber of Shipping Annual Dinner to have a more co-ordinated approach to maritime policy, the first of a series of maritime round tables has taken place, involving Ministers and senior representatives from DfT, BIS, Cabinet Office and the MCA together with industry champions from Maritime UK and the Lloyds Register. The focus of the round table was to discuss a joint strategic approach to maritime policy, to enable continued growth of the sector and improved joint working on maritime affairs.

Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond said “I was very pleased to host this maritime round table which brought together like minded Ministers and industry champions to discuss growth and promotion of the maritime sector”.

Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise said “I am pleased that government and industry have moved quickly on a more collaborative approach to support the marine and maritime sector. By working together we can promote its world class expertise with a single powerful voice to deliver growth”.

Jim Stewart, Chairman Maritime UK said : “This joint industry-Government initiative, which Maritime UK has campaigned for, is strongly welcomed. It will lay the foundations for a new, joined-up, high-level relationship that will, above all, deliver growth for the national economy. Shipping, ports and maritime business services are vital to the UK’s future. So, to meet the challenges we all face, Government and industry must work as closely as possible to deliver a common strategic vision to protect and enhance the UK’s reputation as a natural home for maritime businesses”

Jonathan Roberts of Maritime UK added: “The UK has world class knowledge and expertise in shipping, ports, finance, insurance, skills and training and law. We know we can help the UK economy, and that is why we are delighted that the Government has listened to our calls for a closer working relationship. With 85% of the world’s trade moving by sea, our island nation needs to put maritime services at the heart of its growth strategy. This is the first step in delivering that.

Ministers also expressed their support for London International Shipping Week which will take place from 9-13 September and see this as an excellent opportunity to showcase what the UK has to offer. Government is fully in support of this week and is hosting, with Maritime UK, a Welcome Reception in Lancaster House as part of the week, which is shaping up to be a really exciting opportunity to propel world trade.