Today, the UK’s maritime regions are formally meeting for the first time.
Maritime UK’s Regional Council is bringing together regional maritime ‘cluster’ organisations from across Britain.
Hosted by Mersey Maritime (the cluster organisation for the Liverpool City Region) representatives from all corners of the UK including the Solent, Cornwall, Scotland, East of England and the Humber, are gathering later today at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead.
The Hub is itself a product of the kind of collaboration between industry, academia and local government that clusters are all about.
Cluster organisations, based upon this triumvirate, jointly pursue activity in support of regional maritime growth.
Maritime UK’s strategic plan sets out steps to bring cluster organisations together, helping deliver coordinated activity in support of its nationwide priorities.
We are home to many world-class clusters of maritime expertise, and we’re both accessible and well equipped to send and receive goods at numerous points along our vast shoreline.
London remains a highly attractive maritime capital, and contributes hugely to making us competitive. Last year’s Menon Leading Maritime Capitals of the World report put our capital in the top five – and London continues to make the global top spot in finance and law its own.
And of course, it isn’t just London competing as a global maritime capital.
The UK’s strength is in its collective value.
Merseyside, the Solent, Scotland and the Humber, to name just a few, offer unique and complimentary packages.
The Solent offers some of the most exciting and powerful collaborations between industry and academia, such as the Global Technology Centre at Southampton.
Merseyside has experienced a renaissance as a maritime powerhouse, evinced by, for example, by the construction of Liverpool2 and the planned Centre of Excellence at John Moores University.
Scotland excels in engineering and provides world-class offshore support.
Humberside has been transformed as a centre of a green revolution thanks to the off-shore wind industry.
And the south coast is home to so many leaders in the construction of bespoke and prestigious vessels, including superyachts in which the UK is truly a world-leader.
Meanwhile, extensive infrastructure and significant investment by our ports throughout the UK allow for the swift delivery of international goods and transfer of passenger, whilst providing an ideal location for manufacturing and distribution, benefiting from outstanding connectivity.
Maritime UK already brings together the key organisations from the four maritime industries, and this initiative reflects the fact that there are a number of regional cluster organisations that should be part of our collective work too.
Not only does this increase collaboration, and help us to deliver our collective growth ambitions, but it also means that we’re able to respond to the changing devolution landscape to support and benefit from regional programmes of increasingly powerful regional government.
The Regional Council will also ensure that the clusters are involved with Maritime UK’s development of the Maritime Sector Deal.
Maritime UK’s cluster development programme has two key elements. The first is about bringing existing regional cluster organisations together, to collaborate and share best practice, and the second about using a powerful tried-and-tested model to work with regional industry to create new cluster organisations across the UK.
Today’s gathering is an important first step in forging closer collaboration between our maritime regions.
We’re stronger when we work together, so let’s get to work.
Source: Maritime UK, 30 January 2018