Liverpool city region’s £4bn maritime sector last night cemented its global status with the biggest and best Mersey Maritime Industry Awards (MMIAs) 2018 so far.
A sell-out audience of 450 people gathered for the awards ceremony held at Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium, and hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, to see accolades handed out to the very best performers in the sector.

Notable winners on the night included Liverpool John Moores University Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill, who was the recipient of the Maritime Ambassador’s Award and Peel Ports Group which scooped the National Impact Award. Accu-right Engineering won the Business of the Year accolade.

Accepting his award, a shocked Prof Weatherill said: “I am totally and utterly surprised by this award and it has left me somewhat speechless.
“It is an enormous privilege to lead the team at the university and to be connected to other teams across the Liverpool city region. I work with a fantastic group of people.”
Major agreement

The success of the evening demonstrated Mersey Maritime’s status as the leading cluster in Europe, representing a sector that employs 28,000 people across the city region. And, to further underline that point, Mersey Maritime announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Maritime UK that will see the national body open its new northern office at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead.

Andrew Moffat CBE (Maritime UK) & John Hulmes (Mersey Maritime)

As the sector’s umbrella body, Maritime UK brings together the UK’s shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries to promote the sector, influence government and drive growth.

Mersey Maritime joined Maritime UK in 2017 and since then has been spearheading the organisation’s work in developing a network of regional maritime hubs. The agreement will help Mersey Maritime to further support the national sector, which employs around 1m people and is annually worth £40bn.

The cluster model developed in the Liverpool city region is recognised by the European Commission as the “gold standard”.

Top-level attendees
Among the guests at Thursday night’s MMIAs, now in their fourth year, were a number of political and business heavyweights, including Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Peel Ports chief executive, Mark Whitworth, Andrew Moffat CBE, Chairman Elect of Maritime UK, as well as a high level delegation from the Port of Rotterdam.

Addressing the guests at the start of the evening, Mersey Maritime chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, outlined the breadth of the organisation’s membership and of the wider sector in the Liverpool city region.

“When we think about maritime do we think about the big data and IT companies, the offshore gas businesses and engineering companies, of which there are around 600 in the Liverpool city region – many of them exporting across the world?” he asked.

“Do we think of the lawyers and the accountants, the shipbuilders, the freight forwarders the colleges, the universities? They are all part of our maritime eco system and they support each other – that is what we do.

“We have been named as an exemplar and we are seen as the best cluster in Europe. What we do here is all about leadership and teamwork.”
Images by Al Disley Images @Alundisley