Maritime Weeks abound as UK joins the calendar

Today sees the end of the first ‘Maritime UK Week’, a new initiative held in the same mid-September slot occupied by the biennial London International Shipping Week (LISW) in alternate years.

Instigator of the event - as the name suggests - is umbrella body Maritime UK, which brings together the country’s shipowning, ports, maritime engineering, services and marine leisure sectors.

Maritime Weeks now proliferate around the globe – next up is Portugal Shipping Week, followed by UAE Maritime Week and Hong Kong Maritime Week both within the next couple of months.

Such events have become the new norm for international shipping clusters to display thought leadership and the diversity of their offer.

Maritime UK Week brought a flurry of announcements, including the launches of a Women in Maritime Charter and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers’ new London School of Shipping, as well as various tech-ins, celebrations of worthy causes and even a charity Dragon Boat Race on the Thames.

But all this will pale in comparison with next year’s LISW where the 2017 edition’s total of no fewer than 160 separate events is likely to be surpassed, according to the organisers.

The one-year countdown to the event was launched this week, where it was revealed that the chosen theme to LISW19 will be ‘International Trade in a Changing World’ – a clear nod to geopolitical developments such as the rise of trade protectionism and Brexit – with events grouped around three chosen ‘central themes’ of Growing, Innovating and Partnering.

Hulmes“One of the key parts of Partnering will be looking at the rise of maritime clusters,” explained John Hulmes, chair of the LISW19 Steering Group, and also of regional cluster body Mersey Maritime, at the launch event

Mersey Maritime has an ambitious plan, in conjunction with Peel Ports and Liverpool John Moores University, to build a new Maritime Knowledge Hub in an area of disused docks in Wirral outside Liverpool – a good example of the kind of cooperation between industry, government and academia that Hulmes said he saw as necessary for the further development of clusters.

DingleIt was left to David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK, to detail the “unprecedentedly positive” partnership that Britain’s maritime industry currently enjoys with national government.

“Industry and Government are doing a great deal together, and it is therefore no surprise that our collaboration sits at the heart of LISW,” he said, citing the recent green light for SMarT Plus with its increased Government funding for cadet training as “a highly symbolic move.”

Dingle also alluded to the new Maritime 2050 long-range strategy released by the Department for Transport (DfT), and ongoing work on drawing up an industrial sector deal and the country’s first maritime export strategy with the DfT and DIT (Department for International Trade) respectively.


Posted 14 September 2018

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Bob Jaques

Editor of Seatrade Maritime Review