Maritime’s £56bn economic impact revealed as zero emissions target for 2050 set

New analysis reveals maritime’s significant impact on the UK economy is £56.4 billion per annum. The figure’s been released at the start of London International Shipping Week which has already seen HMS Albion sail into the Thames (above).

The new study, based on 2019 figures, represents a 19% increase from the last time statistics were produced for the industry in 2017, which put the annual figure at £47.4bn, higher than aviation and rail combined at the time.

The preliminary Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) findings, commissioned by Maritime UK, come as global industry leaders converge on Britain for the start of London International Shipping Week (LISW).

LISW coincides with the launch of a new UK Shipping Concierge Service. This new government service will provide a dedicated support service for international maritime businesses thinking of moving to, and growing their business in, the UK. It will link companies to officials across government, representing a step-change in proactive government support for the sector.

The service is the first of its kind in government, and is said to be set-up to open doors for the global industry to do business in the UK. And through regular contact with these firms, the service will try to identify areas of support currently missing and make recommendations to government to maintain the country’s competitive advantage.

Maritime UK is one of LISW’s biggest sponsors, hosting events on each day of the week, including jobs and careers fairs to promote the sector to the next generation, with an expected 170,000 jobs bonanza over the next five years because of freeports announced earlier this year.

“On the week global maritime returns to its natural home in London, this new economic analysis shows just how much maritime affects all of our lives,” says Sarah Kenny, chair of Maritime UK.

“We are an island nation and it’s all around us, keeping us supplied throughout the pandemic, creating jobs from our cities to our shores, and in the years to come, becoming the engine room for our green industrial revolution.

“This week we will see how far we have come, alongside the challenges that still remain, from the co-investment required to steer our ships in a green direction, to reaching our full potential of becoming a modern competitive shipbuilding nation.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is to announce, later today (13Sep21), that the UK backs a world leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050.

This target, which would need to be agreed through the International Maritime Organisation, would be a significant increase of ambition for the sector, which is currently accountable for 3% of global emissions.

“As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping,” says Shapps.

“I’m incredibly excited by the changes happening in this sector, with the speed of progress highlighted by the prospect of zero emission commercial vessels in UK waters in the next few years and green Channel crossings within a decade.

“Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly-skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations.”

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