How the UK’s place as a worldleading maritime nation can be built upon for the benefit of the UK economy, including how more ships could be registered under the British flag, were outlined in a special report that looked at the industry’s future.
Commissioned by the Government early in November, 2014, the report, ‘Maritime Growth Study: Keeping the UK Competitive in a Global Market (pdf)’, was published on Sept 7 at the start of the London International Shipping Week 2015.
The study, headed by Lord Mountevans, chairman of Maritime UK, examined how Britain can build on the success of an industry that contributes at least £11bn to the UK economy annually and supports more than 113,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses.
Lord Mountevans said: “This report is a ‘call to arms’ to industry and government to actively support and raise the profile of a vital sector that contributes significantly to the economy and which the nation relies on to meet its daily needs.”
The study’s recommendations included:
- The establishment of a ministerial working group in government to drive forward action on maritime issues, set clear targets and monitor progress;
- Creating a new standalone unit within the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to focus on attracting more ships to be British registered and fly the Red Ensign, the number of ships flying the Ensign having fallen by a third in the last five years;
- Government and industry to develop a joint strategy to identify skills gaps and increase apprenticeships in the UK maritime sector;
- The creation of a single industry body to promote the UK maritime sector to international markets.
The study said: “With 95 per cent of UK trade moved by sea, ensuring that the UK maritime sector remains competitive is vital to our national economy. The report rightly recognises that the UK maritime sector is already world class in many areas.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are determined to grow our share of the global maritime sector, helping talented people find careers in its industries, and attracting companies to do business in the UK.”
“I want Britain to feel the benefit of its international reputation by driving economic growth and increasing jobs. We have already seen millions invested in the UK, including at London Gateway and Liverpool, demonstrating the central place Britain already holds in the industry.”