A report to be released next week reveals the sector now accounts for more a million direct and indirect jobs nationwide.
With £54billion worth of business, it now equals Britain’s other manufacturing giant, the motor industry, and dwarfs security, defence and aerospace.
The report by lobby group Maritime UK predicts that the sector will overcome any sluggishness caused by Brexit uncertainty to grow by 15 per cent by 2022.
A separate survey, also by Maritime UK, found that 62 per cent of the world’s top 100 maritime industry leaders have stated they are “likely or very likely” to make the UK their home after 2019.
It comes ahead of talks in Downing Street tomorrow aimed at encouraging the Government to follow Singapore’s example in supporting the industry with new initiatives and investment.
One of the key demands will be for Britain to buy UK made military and civilian vessels, instead of importing them from countries such as South Korea, heralding a “ship building renaissance that even Singapore can’ t match”.
Maritime UK chairman David Dingle said Britain’s global position had been founded on maritime trade and industry and that its position as the world’s maritime leader would only grow with the right support.
“Britain’s maritime sector is in good shape and stands to be one of Britain’s leading success stories in the next decade,” he said.
The concentration of maritime service businesses, including insurance, brokering, law and financing, as well as London housing the International Maritime Organisation, make Britain a “magnet” for the maritime sector.
“The opportunities for this long established cluster to move to Europe are extremely limited,” Mr Dingle said. Other factors play a role, too. “It’s always been the case that our location and time zone is regarded as the ideal,” he said.
“We are nicely positioned between the US and the Far East. We reach all parts of the world across the business day. It’s the same advantage that our financial sector enjoys and it can never be underestimated.”
Speaking on the eve of International Shipping Week Mr Dingle, also chairman of Carnival which operates cruises for P&O, added: “The UK is a highly resilient maritime centre. We’ve recently undertaken a survey of 100 maritime leaders – CEOs and chairmen of businesses within the sector – and 62 per cent said they would be likely or very likely to choose the UK as a base for new business.
“Bearing in mind this is a highly competitive world with aggressive Asian rivals, I think this is a very good number.”
Tomorrow’s talks between maritime industry leaders, Theresa May and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will focus on Government investment and competitive tax rules.
op of the list will be a “buy British” procurement strategy for shipping.
“We want to encourage Government procurers of military and civilian vessels to buy British. This will create a ship building renaissance in this country,” Mr Dingle said.
“It may cost a little more to build a tanker here than in, say South Korea, but the economic trickle down will be immense. For every job created directly by the maritime sector, five more are generated in other sectors. It means the industry accounts for a million jobs today.
“If we get it right we’ll extend our civilian and military vessel building capacity. It is an opportunity that not even Singapore can match.”
Industry leaders will also ask the Government to reform its tonnage tax. The levy allows ship owners to pay rates based on capacity rather than operating profits, and making rates more attractive will help Britain compete with “less globally competitive” nations such as Greece, which are hampered by EU state aid guidelines.
Other items will include boosting training of seafarers by £15million and building a Marine Research Development Centre which would fuse academia and industry to make the most of British innovation.
Source: www.express.co.uk, 10 September 2017