“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance the contribution of the UK maritime cluster and exploit the expected growth in world trade to help create jobs, increase the export of our maritime services and encourage maritime-related investment across the country,” noted industry chairman of the report Lord Mountevans, also chairman of Maritime London and Maritime UK.
Released to coincide with the start of London International Shipping Week – which officially opened with a ceremony on the floor of the London Stock Exchange this morning (pictured above) - the 140-page study identifies three main areas where coordinated action by government and industry are needed.
The first is “Leadership” with the report calling for “a more commercial and responsive UK maritime administration within government”. This would include increased commercial “focus and culture of the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), particularly the UK Ship Register (UKSR)” with appointment of a non-executive MCA chair from industry to oversee the transition.
The report also identifies the need to set up “a single, industry-wide promotional body working with government to bring together this diverse sector and raise both its domestic profile and effectively market the UK abroad as a place for maritime business.”
The second area identified for action is “skills”, with more proactivity called for to replenish and develop maritime training. The above-mentioned industry-wide body is called on to develop a “skills strategy” and establish a voluntary “Maritime Skills Investment Fund’ designed to broaden the current offer of shipping apprenticeships.
At the same time the government is asked to review its previous assessments of the longer term requirement for trained UK seafarers, and to encourage more companies into UK Tonnage Tax with its associated training requirement.
The final area recommended for greater action is “Marketing” with the call for a “more ambitious and co-ordinated approach”. This might include the setting up of a “single, overarching maritime career portal” as well as the greater involvement of UKTI foreign trade delegations and foreign embassies to promote the maritime cause.
“The marketing activity of other countries such as Denmark and Singapore is currently considered more coherent, targeted and effective than the UK’s efforts,” the report noted.
The day also saw an industry Round Table at Downing Street hosted by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin (pictured above).
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