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UK DfT launches Maritime 2050

(Posted on 31/01/19)

The launch of Maritime 2050, the first long-term strategy developed in close partnership with industry highlights the UK government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector to Britain’s future success. That importance has only increased in the context of the UK leaving the EU, with 95% of all UK trade being enabled by the sector.

Brexit has raised the profile of the sector, not least owing to national debate on the UK’s future trade relations. Whilst the sector is determined to manage the UK’s departure from the EU as smoothly as possible, it is also focused Beyond Brexit. Industry believes there are significant opportunities to:

  • foster innovation in new technologies like autonomy and clean growth
  • attract more maritime business to the UK
  • drive coastal economic development to create a coastal powerhouse
  • grow a skilled and diverse workforce

 

Maritime 2050 is published at a time when the UK faces intense competition from maritime nations in the Far East, Northern Europe, Gulf and North America.

Today the UK is regarded as the world’s leading centre for maritime services - maritime law, finance, insurance, management and brokering. Maritime 2050 is designed to maximise UK strength in this area, retaining and enhancing its competitive advantage and developing new areas to compliment the offer, like green finance.

Maritime 2050 will strengthen the UK’s reputation for maritime innovation with an initial focus on autonomy and low-carbon technologies. For many of these technologies there is a time-limited golden opportunity to be an early adopter, particularly on low-carbon.

The maritime sector invests heavily in infrastructure. Ports alone have over £1.6bn of investments in the pipeline. Government creating the right conditions for further investment by ports and the wider maritime sector will transform coastal communities into the coastal powerhouse industry and government want them to be.

There is an opportunity to grow the maritime workforce and transform its diversity. Government and industry and currently working closely through Maritime UK’s Women in Maritime Taskforce, and Maritime 2050 challenges industry to broaden this work. Maritime 2050 will also deliver a skills commission to audit current and future skills needs, directing training as necessary.

The UK is recognised as the gold standard for safety, education and training standards. This is a real area of strength, and one that can be strengthened further.

British maritime strength is in its collective value. London is complimented by hubs in Merseyside, the Solent, Scotland and the Humber amongst others. Industry is determined to create powerful and effective regional hubs to drive maritime growth. Maritime 2050 will see government support industry in its efforts to roll out the ‘regional cluster’ model developed by Mersey Maritime.

This report recognises the UK as a champion of free trade. That 95% of trade is facilitated by this sector means it has a huge and real stake in the debate about protectionism vs free trade. Maritime 2050 illustrates the value of trade, and the unique responsibility maritime has to ensure the UK’s island nation has the food and energy it needs. The report also demonstrates the power of trade to lift people out of poverty.

The strategy is founded on seven core ambitions, demonstrating our bold and aspirational objectives: UK competitive advantage; Technology; People; Environment; Trade; Infrastructure; Security and Resilience.

Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK, said, “For the first time the maritime sector has a real long term strategy – setting out what government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.

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