Categories: British Ports Association, Business, Maritime UK, UK Major Ports GroupPublished On: 03.01.20181189 words6.4 min read

Maritime UK brings together the UK’s shipping, ports, marine and business services industries to promote the sector, influence government and drive growth.

2017 was a critical year in the organisation’s development. Since the government’s Maritime Growth Study, we’ve grown in size and capacity. Last year built upon the solid foundations laid by members in their coming together to collaborate, and started the serious process of delivery.

Together, the sector is making progress in raising its profile, speaking more clearly and compellingly to government, and fostering collaboration in key areas such as innovation – all to drive growth.

Policy, politics and profile

We act as “One Voice” for the common concerns of the sector – amplifying its profile, identifying common issues and promoting joint policy positions.

2017’s politics were as unpredictable as 2016’s, and provided a similarly valuable platform with which to engage and promote our collective interests.

We produced a cross-sector manifesto based upon individual member priorities (, covering:

  • Ensuring an attractive business environment
  • Backing British
  • Investing in connectivity and infrastructure
  • Fostering an innovation nation
  • Boosting maritime exports

2017 saw the publication of our new study, delivered by Cebr, into the economic contribution of the sector. Launched in Parliament during London International Shipping Week, parliamentarians heard that the sector now supports just under 1 million jobs and contributes around £40 billion to UK GDP.

UK maritime productivity, employment, turnover and contribution to GDP have increased nationwide over the five years analysed. The report also found that there had been a 12.7% increase in turnover, a 6.6% increase in GVA and 3.9% increase in employment. It also showed that productivity per worker stood well above the UK average at £77,897, compared to £50,830.

We significantly increased our mainstream media coverage, including on television, radio and in newspapers – BBC News, CNBC, Today programme, The Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Express and Mirror to name a few. Mainstream media coverage means that the public and their representative decision-makers are hearing the maritime sector’s priorities alongside other sectors with more established public affairs records.

Maritime UK and its members continue to engage at the highest political levels, including at the Maritime UK-UK Government Ministerial Working Group on Maritime Growth. This group brings together ministers from all Government Department’s with a maritime interest, including BEIS, DfT, DIT, Treasury, MOD and the FCO.

Round tables were held with the Treasury, DExEU and BEIS select committee chairs and meetings are planned with DIT to discuss industry’s priorities for government export support. We also increased engagement with the opposition.

London International Shipping Week – organised by Maritime UK and its members – played host to a high-level round table at 10 Downing Street, chaired by the Maritime UK chair and International Trade and Transport secretaries, along with ministers from BEIS, DExEU and HM Treasury.

Promoting the UK’s maritime offer

We organised the first pan-sector trade mission with DIT to Shanghai, which saw the entire UK maritime offer being presented to Chinese customers on board QM2 (thanks, Cunard!).

Shipping Week brought thousands of global industry leaders to the UK and we worked with government to organise an impressive array of 1-2-1’s and round tables – linking customers with the relevant UK suppliers. We organised the first International Maritime Xchange at Somerset House, sponsored by ABP, which brought together predominately Chinese visitors with UK maritime companies from across the sector. This is a model likely to be repeated.

2018 sees the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting come to London, and we’re working with members and government to ensure we make the most of this high-profile opportunity to promote the UK’s products, services and investment opportunities.

We produced a number of Maritime UK promotional products, which can be seen on the website. The products continue to be distributed to target market diplomatic posts, and at trade shows and missions.

Work continues to scope opportunities for the entire sector, with a great deal of focus on the opportunities to be found within India’s Sagar Mala project.

Our working groups bring together all parts of the sector to collaborate on projects of importance and relevance to all our industries. One such example was the publication of the industry code of practice for maritime autonomous vessels.

Skills and careers

Career opportunities in the maritime sector are as broad as they are exciting. We have developed a pan-sector maritime careers portal to serve as a shop window for those careers:

Members are developing a sector skills strategy that will identify the future labour needs of the sector, including gaps that industry and government must address together.

2018 is the Year of Engineering, and the maritime sector is determined to play its part in promoting the vast number of engineering opportunities across all industries.

We plan to attend a number of major career fairs, providing a strong and coordinated platform for individual maritime industries and their respective trade association to champion the careers on offer in their part of the sector.

Apprenticeships have been the buzz word of recent times, and the sector continues to develop new apprenticeship standards and encourage their adoption. During Shipping Week we launched a joint Maritime UK – DfT employer resource ‘Maritime Apprenticeships: Your Future, Their Future, Our Future’, including common misconceptions, FAQs and case studies. Thanks to the MSA and DfT for their help with the project.

Just as we work to get more apprentices, we are committed to getting more women in the sector, and an action plan comprising practical and robust steps will be produced to aid delivery.

Industrial strategy and sector deal

Maritime UK is coordinating the maritime sector’s bid in response to the government’s invitation for sector deal bids. More information:

Regional cluster development

There is much interest in regional clusters at the moment, and we have a programme of regional cluster development, being led by Mersey Maritime. The cluster development programme will have two key elements, focused on both bringing together existing cluster organisations and establishing new organisations as vehicles of maritime growth.

By being brought together clusters will be able to share best practice and consider any regulatory or policy asks that uniquely affect their role within the maritime sector.

The second key pillar of the programme will be the creation of a ‘service’ that is available for regions across the UK to support the creation and later development of new cluster organisations. The service will be based upon the experience and model developed by the existing cluster organisations.

Such a programme of new cluster creation and development will support Maritime UK’s ambition to deliver jobs and growth across the whole country.

Final thought

2017 was a year of real delivery, and one that has set a solid foundation for further delivery in 2018. We look forward to working with you to promote the sector, influence government and drive maritime growth.

Maritime UK’s members are: British Marine, British Ports Association, Baltic Exchange, CLIA UK & Ireland, Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, LISW, Trinity House, Maritime London, Mersey Maritime, Nautilus International, Seafarers UK, Society of Maritime Industries, Solent LEP, UK Chamber of Shipping and UK Major Ports Group.