The UK government must actively support and invest in the nation’s maritime industry, according to the new ‘Maritime Growth Study’, published today, which includes recommendations for future shipping policy.
The study, led by Lord Mountevans, chairman of Maritime UK, recommends the UK government establish a ministerial working group to focus on maritime issues, set clear targets and monitor progress.
The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would benefit from the creation of a standalone unit, tasked with attracting more vessels to Britain’s ship registry, the report said. The number of UK-registered ships is currently at its lowest level since 2006 and has fallen by a third during the last five years.
Furthermore, the UK government and industry must work together to identify and address gaps in skill sets, and increase the number of available apprenticeships, the report states.
“This report is the culmination of months of work involving widespread engagement and detailed research. I am very grateful to all those who have engaged in the study,” Lord Mountevans, chair of the Maritime Growth Study, said in a statement.
“The result 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.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that Britain holds a “central place” in the global maritime sector, as shown by investment in the London Gateway and Liverpool ports.
“I thank the chair who has produced an important piece of work and look forward to working with industry to ensure we do all we can to keep Britain a great maritime nation,” McLoughlin commented.
The UK’s shipping industry contributes at least £11bn to the economy every year, and supports more than 113,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses.
The Maritime Growth Study report can be freely accessed here.