Government announces historic commitment to UK marine industry

By | January 25, 2019

Thursday 24 January 2019 marks an historic moment for Britain’s marine industry with the launch of Maritime 2050, the UK Government’s first ever long-term strategy to support and grow the sector.

Described as both visionary and aspirational, Maritime 2050 highlights the Government’s recognition of the importance of maritime – worth over £40bn to the UK economy, more than aerospace or car manufacturing – and focuses on the desire to cement the UK’s place as the world’s leading maritime nation into the second half of the 21st century.

Over the last year, British Marine and its maritime counterpart, Maritime UK, has been collaborating closely with government officials to develop this ground-breaking strategy, ensuring it fully addresses the key challenges facing the marine industry.

This one-of-a-kind piece of work incorporates the full footprint of British Marine’s membership, from manufacturing and services to tourism, setting out a comprehensive roadmap to drive growth for member businesses.

At the bedrock of Maritime 2050 are seven distinct themes; Technology, Trade, Environment, People & Skills, Infrastructure, Security/Resilience and the UK’s Competitive Advantage. Combined, these deliver a clear direction and vision for the Government and industry to work together to ensure the UK can progressively compete on the global stage in the coming decades. For example:

  • Infrastructure

The Government has committed to work with British Marine and its members to identify, develop and deliver tangible support for the leisure marine, superyacht and small commercial marine industry. This includes looking at the protection of strategic waterfront sites so that the sector has the scope to expand businesses and increase output.

It has also pledged to review any issues which might prevent UK businesses from being competitive in bids for UK-based contracts and if necessary, explore options to provide appropriate support.

  • People & Skills

The Government will fund the roll out of the ‘people like me’ maritime industry project to help address the image and perception of the industry. Its aim is to promote careers in the industry and ultimately, close the critical skills gap which 30% of marine companies have reported within their businesses.

In addition, officials aim to establish a Maritime Skills Commission, bringing existing leading marine skills experts together to report on the current and future skills needs of the industry. It will inform and improve the maritime training curriculum to ensure it is up-to-date and maintains relevance amid the evolving needs of the sector.

  • Environment

To help business meet the ever increasing need to reduce their environmental footprint, both domestically and internationally, the Government will assess how economic instruments could support the transition to zero emission shipping in the medium to long term. This coincides with British Marine’s continued work with members, regulators and navigation authorities to educate all parties on environmental issues and develop affordable and practical steps businesses can implement to reduce their impact on the planet.

  • Trade 

The Government will collaborate closely with industry to increase British exports as a proportion of the UK’s GDP from 30% to 35%. This follows its advancing work with British Marine and other sector bodies to develop a fully funded five-year export strategy that boosts marine exports in existing and new markets.

British Marine’s President, Greg Munford, today joined the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, and Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP, along with other senior figures from maritime and a number of marine apprentices, onboard City Cruises’ Millennium Diamond for the launch of the Maritime 2050 strategy.

Greg Munford comments: “British Marine welcomes and supports the Government’s ambitious Maritime 2050 strategy, which makes important recommendations to support and grow the UK’s marine industry.

“We appreciate the hard work done by the officials at the Department for Transport over the past year to better engage with the industry and understand the challenges and opportunities facing our member businesses. We look forward to working alongside our Department for Transport colleagues to implement the commitments set out in Maritime 2050.

“With a key element of the strategy focussed on growing skills and career opportunities across marine and maritime, I am delighted that British Marine members, City Cruises and Berthon, have been able to bring some of their apprentices along today to help showcase the talent already present in our industry.”

Matthew Beckwith, City Cruises’ Operations Director and Chairman of the British Marine Passenger Boat Association adds: “We support the Government’s ambitious Maritime 2050 strategy and look forward to working together with all of our strategic partners to continue to promote the UK’s vital waterways for both transport and leisure.

“In particular we are delighted to see a commitment from this Government to tackle the skills deficit across the industry and to support the growth of the tourism sector which makes such a valuable contribution to our visitor economy.”

Further information about Maritime 2050, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maritime-2050-navigating-the-future