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Solent businesses welcome government's new strategy to drive growth in maritime sector


A NEW government strategy to drive growth in the UK's lucrative maritime sector post-Brexit has been welcomed by business leaders in the Solent region.

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 UK chair Harry Theochari 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. The global ocean economy will double in value to $3 trillion by 2030. Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, and Maritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise."

Brexit has raised the profile of the sector, not least owing to national debate on the UK’s future trade relations.

The strategy is founded on seven core areas Technology; People; Environment; Trade; Infrastructure; Security and Resilience.

• leveraging the UK’s competitive advantage in the provision of maritime law, finance, insurance, management and brokering;

• strengthening our reputation for maritime innovation

• growing our maritime workforce and transforming diversity in the sector;

• leading the way in taking action on clean maritime growth;

• promoting a liberalised trading regime;

• working with academia and government to strengthen existing networks across the sector;

• continuing to be recognised as the global leader in maritime safety and security

Harry Theochari said: The UK is a maritime nation and our island, maritime status, is part of who we are; 95 percent of British imports and exports in goods are moved by sea, including 25 percent of the UK’s energy supply and 48 percent of food supplies.

“There are monumental opportunities for our sector – whether on technology, coastal economic development, attracting more maritime business to our shores or for the people that underpin our success.

“Growing the maritime workforce – those that our maritime success and national prosperity relies upon is a smart move, too. Productivity is over 50% higher than the national average, so maritime can play a real role in helping address the UK’s productivity challenge.”

In the Solent, the maritime sector contributes more than £20 billion to the Uk economy and more than £77.5b worth of exports and imports are moved through the major ports of Southampton and Portsmouth every year.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Solent LEP (Local Enterprise Partnershp) chief executive and Maritime UK Council member, said: In the Solent LEP area, the maritime sector contributes at least £5.5 billion to economic activity, directly employing nearly 36,000 people. With uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we feel it is important to highlight the release of this report, which sets out how government will work with industry to ensure the UK is ready to compete globally for decades to come.”

A spokesperson for ABP, whoch owsn and operates the Port of Southampton, said: "We’re pleased that this strategy sets out clear support for ports and development and we look forward to working with the Government to achieve these objectives and on future opportunities for port development and growth for trade here in Southampton.”