Categories: Business, Maritime UKPublished On: 26.06.20182014 words10.1 min read

SMI Chief Executive John Murray represented Maritime UK at the Marine Tech Expo in Plymouth on 21 June.


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to be here in this great maritime city of Plymouth, indeed the heart of a world-class maritime cluster.

Across the region we’re witnessing exciting and dynamic businesses at the leading-edge of their field.

Maritime UK is hugely supportive of this fantastic showcase of marine technology and I would like to pay tribute to the organisers in bringing this event together.

In driving innovation by pushing technological boundaries and creating new solutions to serve the global maritime sector, each region has a unique contribution to make to the overall UK offer.

Taken as a whole, we are incredibly confident about our pitch to this most competitive of global industries.

We are a leading, outward-looking, global trading maritime nation.

We are the world’s maritime centre and are proud to offer a unique and complete package for maritime business.

With pioneering technology, high-quality design & manufacturing, unparalleled expertise in services and major investment opportunities, the UK is the natural home for maritime business.

[Maritime UK and the Maritime Growth Study]

For the benefit of those who may have only a fleeting understanding of Maritime UK and the Government’sMaritime Growth Study, I would like to take a few moments for an introduction.

The Maritime Growth study has ushered in an era of increasingly close maritime collaboration within industry and also within government, and, crucially, between industry and government.

The Growth Study, launched in 2015, called on both industry and government to work more collaboratively, and more efficiently.

On the industry side, it called for the maritime trade associations to come together and provide a single voice, and from government it called for heightened cross-government cooperation.

I’m pleased to say that this has happened, and is bearing real fruit for the benefit of the whole sector.

Having come together, industry bodies are both identifying areas where we can collaborate on existing projects and others where we can create new cross-sector collaboration.

The industry response to the government’s industrial strategy, our regional cluster focus and Women in Maritime initiative, are just a few examples of that more profitable joint effort.

And in government we’ve seen the introduction of the cross-Whitehall Ministerial Working Group which regularly brings together Ministers from the breadth of departments with a maritime interest, including: DfT, BEIS, DIT, HM Treasury, DEFRA, DExEU , Home Office, and MoD.

More generally, there has never been a stronger relationship between government and industry with officials and Maritime UK and member associations in daily productive dialogue.

So, having come together, what are Maritime UK trying to achieve?

Now that we represent the UK’s shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries, we are focused on collaboration to promote the sector, influence government and drive growth.

We do this by,

Acting as “One Voice”for the common concerns of the sector.  Amplifying the profile of maritime, identifying common issues and promoting joint policy positions through industry campaigns and messaging.

Promoting the UKas the world’s maritime centre by coordinating promotional campaigns to deliver growth for the sector.

Working in partnership with governmentand other sectors to build a business and regulatory environment which reinforces the UK’s world leadership.

Delivering an industry-wide skills strategywhich ensures that increased numbers of people enter and build their careers in the sector, at sea and on shore, thus meeting the future labour needs of the sector.

Delivering a programme of regional cluster developmentto drive sector growth across the UK – particularly in coastal communities.

And when it comes to lobbying, we’ve focus on,

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

These priorities guide our ministerial engagement and media activity. We’ve seen a substantial increase in media coverage of the sector, and that will continue.

A valuable tool to support our lobbying and reflecting our increasingly confident and robust posture.

Knowing what our sector needs, and how to get it.

[Technological trends in the sector]

I’d now like to touch on two key technological developments in the sector, and then talk about how we are responding to capitalise upon the opportunities.

You will not be surprised if I mention autonomy and the increasing number of applications for our sector.  Crucially, this includes consideration of the regulatory framework required for autonomous vessels.

The UK has led the world in this area, being first to codify how we should design, build, operate, and train people for autonomous vessels less than 24 metres.  The Code of Practice is available on the Maritime UK website.

From small vessels laying cables, surveying and providing insight into our seabed through to ferries and now commercial ships, we are in the age of differing degrees of autonomy. Industry and governments across the world are in a competitive race to lead developments, and much of the exciting work is happening here in the South West.

There are huge opportunities to turbocharge that work through collaborations, and I’ll touch on that later.

Equally, there is a monumental opportunity to lead the way in low carbon, green technology. The IMO has set its target to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. That target creates an incredible opportunity.  The market is substantial, and the race is on.

From the use of batteries to renewable energy sources, there are plenty of exciting projects underway.

Again, the UK can achieve more if we work together and collaborate.  And that’s what the maritime Sector Dealis all about – bringing manufacturers, academia, shipowners, service providers and ports together to tackle this challenge – and I’ll talk more about that in a moment.

[Government strategies]

Before I talk about the industrial strategy, I want to flag a number of other government initiatives, and clarify how they are interconnected.

First, Maritime 2050.  This is the government’s landmark strategy to make the most of future opportunities for the nation’s maritime industries to thrive.

We’ve long argued that maritime should be on an equal footing to sectors such as aviation and automotive.  Both have their own long-term strategies, and we’re therefore pleased to see Maritime 2050.

We want Maritime 2050 to cover the breadth of the sector and to be ambitious and transformative.

I’d urge all of you to send in your thoughts to the DfT or engage through your association.

Second, Foresight Future of the Sea.  Delivered for the Government Chief Scientist, with the ministerial forward co-signed by minsters from the Foreign Office, BEIS, DfT and DEFRA, the report’s foreword says:

“The UK is a leading maritime nation. We have a proud history of exploration, innovation, and marine science that dates back to the expeditions of Captain James Cook aboard the HMS Endeavour. In many ways the UK’s accomplishments at sea have helped to build our modern world.”

In looking to the future, the report identifies four key areas for future growth in the “blue” or “ocean” economy.

  • Science and innovation
  • Improved understanding of the sea
  • Greater coordination and more long-term decision making
  • Global opportunities

The report recognises the UK’s established role in maritime, including in the development of autonomous vessels, robotics and other emerging technologies.

Third, the government will launch its own International Oceans Strategy later this year.

All of these strategies provide an evidence base to strengthen the case for our maritime sector deal.

Government is keen to use the Sector Deal as a vehicle to deliver against the opportunities identified within Maritime 2050 and its other projects.  This provides a huge opportunity for industry, and we’re determined not to miss the boat.

[Industrial strategy and sector deal]

Now, let me say a little more about the industrial strategy.

Government asked sectors that organise themselves with strong leadership to come forward with proposals to transform their sector. Now collaborating closely, the industry has done this through Maritime UK.

There are two key elements.  First, an industrial strategy challenge fund bidthat responds to those technological developments I’ve set out.

And second, a sector dealthat’s designed to make the whole maritime sector more competitive and fit for the future.

We’ve worked with industry, academia and government to submit a bid to establish a collaborative maritime research centre. The EOI has been submitted under ISCF Wave 3 – and is known as SEAS (Safe, environmental, autonomous shipping).

The bid will initiate a programme of seabed mapping, to boost the blue economy, unlocking knowledge and opportunity from our oceans.

Data will be collected by cutting-edge autonomous vessels. Those vessels will be low-carbon, and that technology can be scaled through to commercial shipping – helping respond to the IMO’s decarbonisation target.

One of the criteria for a successful bid was to ‘excite the public imagination’ and what could be of more interest to the public than exploring the 2.5m square miles of undiscovered land under the sea which makes up the UK’s EEZ?

Beyond technology and innovation, the sector deal bidwill focus on:

Place and regional clusters

How the maritime sector can drive growth in the regions and coastal communities.

Bringing in connectivity and marine planning as well as plans to enhance regional cluster organisations. We are exploring with each region whether a regional maritime sector deal adds value.

Then there is the business environment

How we can attract more investment into the maritime sector, for instance by shipowners basing themselves in the UK and then procuring products and services from our indigenous suppliers.

It will look at trade promotion

What kind of support do we need from the DIT to get our products and services to market?

And it will look at skills

What skills do we need to fuel our maritime ambition?

Colleagues, if you have initiatives and projects to align with the sector deal, get in touch.

[Get involved with Maritime UK initiatives]

We’d like your engagement with other initiatives, too. Particularly our new ‘Women in Maritime’ programme.

Maritime UK has established a Taskforce to address fairness, equality and inclusion within the maritime sector.

The Taskforce brings together leaders from across the maritime sector to identify practical steps to increase the number of women in maritime, and crucially within senior roles across our industries.

From your own organisations, you know that achieving a balanced workforce at all levels improves culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity.

And across the sector, we all know there is a chronic underrepresentation of women.

During London International Shipping Week, the then Maritime Minister John Hayes MP called for industry to address gender imbalance in the sector. It was the prompt that we needed.

The Taskforce will make a series of recommendations and utilise best practice from other sectors that have taken similar action.

The first initiative from the Taskforce is the Women in Maritime pledge.The forerunner to the launch of the full Charter.

Companies signing up to the pledge – a headline statement of intent – will be invited to engage with the detailed development of the Charter, which is due to be launched in the autumn of 2018.

The first wave of companies to commit to the pledge will be announced at Seawork International in Southamptonby the Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani.

Organisations that sign the pledge will be encouraged to take practical steps and set themselves measurable and ambitious goals towards meeting this pledge. They will be supported by the charter, alongside toolkits to help them achieve their goals, recognition of their progress, and a government supported annual review.

So, please, do sign! The website is


Ladies and gentlemen, I hope my remarks have been useful, and helpful.

Maritime UK is committed to working with the breadth of the sector to realise opportunities and deliver growth.

The UK has the opportunity to capitalise upon its competitive advantage across a number of areas; many of which are on display, here, today.

I can assure you that there is a real confidence that the stars are aligning for maritime, and we will work with you here in Plymouth and across the whole country to realise our collective ambition of a world-leading maritime nation.

Thank you.

Full article available here

Source: Maritime UK, 26 June 2018