Department For Transport Launches Maritime 2050, In First Ever Long-Term Strategy For The UK Maritime Sector.

Launch of Maritime 2050, the first long-term strategy developed in close partnership with industry highlights the government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector to Britain’s future success. That importance has only increased in the context of the UK leaving the EU, with 95% of all UK trade being enabled by the sector.

Brexit has raised the profile of the sector, not least owing to national debate on the UK’s future trade relations. Whilst the sector is determined to manage the UK’s departure from the EU as smoothly as possible, it is also focused Beyond Brexit. Industry believes there are significant opportunities to:

foster innovation in new technologies like autonomy and clean growth
attract more maritime business to the UK
drive coastal economic development to create a coastal powerhouse
grow a skilled and diverse workforce

Maritime 2050 is published at a time when the UK faces intense competition from maritime nations in the Far East, Northern Europe, Gulf and North America.

Today the UK is regarded as the world’s leading centre for maritime services – maritime law, finance, insurance, management and brokering. Maritime 2050 is designed to maximise UK strength in this area, retaining and enhancing its competitive advantage and developing new areas to compliment the offer, like green finance.

Maritime 2050 will strengthen the UK’s reputation for maritime innovation with an initial focus on autonomy and low-carbon technologies. For many of these technologies there is a time-limited golden opportunity to be an early adopter, particularly on low-carbon.

The maritime sector invests heavily in infrastructure. Ports alone have over £1.6bn of investments in the pipeline. Government creating the right conditions for further investment by ports and the wider maritime sector will transform coastal communities into the coastal powerhouse industry and government want them to be.

There is an opportunity to grow the maritime workforce and transform its diversity. Government and industry and currently working closely through Maritime UK’s Women in Maritime Taskforce, and Maritime 2050 challenges industry to broaden this work. Maritime 2050 will also deliver a skills commission to audit current and future skills needs, directing training as necessary.

The UK is recognised as the gold standard for safety, education and training standards. This is a real area of strength, and one that can be strengthened further.

British maritime strength is in its collective value. London is complimented by hubs in Merseyside, the Solent, Scotland and the Humber amongst others. Industry is determined to create powerful and effective regional hubs to drive maritime growth. Maritime 2050 will see government support industry in its efforts to roll out the ‘regional cluster’ model developed by Mersey Maritime.

This report recognises the UK as a champion of free trade. That 95% of trade is facilitated by this sector means it has a huge and real stake in the debate about protectionism vs free trade. Maritime 2050 illustrates the value of trade, and the unique responsibility maritime has to ensure the UK’s island nation has the food and energy it needs. The report also demonstrates the power of trade to lift people out of poverty.

The strategy is founded on seven core ambitions, demonstrating our bold and aspirational objectives: UK competitive advantage; Technology; People; Environment; Trade; Infrastructure; Security and Resilience.

These seven ambitions promote key developments to ensure optimum benefits and progress such as:

leveraging the UK’s competitive advantage in the provision of maritime law, finance, insurance, management and brokering;
strengthening our reputation for maritime innovation, harnessing benefits to the UK from new maritime technology;
growing our maritime workforce and transforming diversity in the sector;
leading the way in taking action on clean maritime growth;
promoting a liberalised trading regime;
working with academia and government to strengthen and enhance the existing networks across the sector;
continuing to be recognised as the global leader in maritime safety and security standards and expertise worldwide.

Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK, said:

“For the first time the maritime sector has a real long term strategy – setting out what government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.

“The UK is a maritime nation and our island, maritime status, is part of who we are; 95 percent of British imports and exports in goods are moved by sea, including 25 percent of the UK’s energy supply and 48 percent of food supplies.

“There are monumental opportunities for our sector – whether on technology, coastal economic development, attracting more maritime business to our shores or for the people that underpin our success.

“The global ocean economy will double in value to $3trn by 2030. Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, and Maritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise.

“Growing the maritime workforce – those that our maritime success and national prosperity relies upon is a smart move, too. Productivity is over 50% higher than the national average, so maritime can play a real role in helping address the UK’s productivity challenge.”

“The task of turning these ambitious recommendations into reality rests on the strength of partnership between industry and government. Industry is committed to delivery.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP will launch Maritime 2050 onboard City Cruises’ Millendium Diamond on The Thames. The company’s Operations Director and Chairman of the British Marine Passenger Boat Association commented:

“We support the Government’s ambitious Maritime 2050 strategy and look forward to working together with all of our strategic partners to continue to promote the UK’s vital waterways for both transport and leisure.

“In particular we are delighted to see a commitment from this Government to tackle the skills deficit across the industry and to support the growth of the tourism sector which makes such a valuable contribution to our visitor economy.”

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