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Author – Peter Green: National Maritime (NMDG) welcomed the Maritime Growth Study, published on the opening day of London International Shipping Week, which was commissioned by Government early in November 2014.

The report sets out ways in which the UK can maintain its position as a world leading maritime centre and makes recommendations on issues including seafarer training, reform of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the UK Ship Register (UKSR), and promoting the maritime sector.

We were pleased that the study also recognised the calls for closer collaboration across the breadth of the maritime sector, after-all the size of the UK-flagged fleet is directly related to the strength of the broader maritime sector?

We were also encouraged to hear the calls for all of the industries and services within the maritime cluster to work together to grow the UK maritime economy and, when necessary, present a unified view to government and global stakeholders.

As a growing respected authority, National Maritime (NMDG) has always worked closely with companies across the sector, government and all other stakeholders; including maritime trade associations and organisations, to address issues and promote interests that affect business and communities.

We are concerned that whilst evidence collected as part of the study rightly underlined the economic importance of shipping and ports, and encompassed a wide range of other activities such as training, business services, engineering, manufacturing, research and development it primarily suggests that the UK maritime sector as a whole, is made up of just ports, shipping and maritime business services?

A sector that in effect contributes £22.2 billion to UK GDP and supports 489,400 jobs, whereas the wider UK maritime economy actually provides over 935,000 jobs and generates around £56 bn of UK GDP and includes amongst others; Shipping, Port Operations & Business Services, Marine Engineering, Renewable, Fisheries, Heritage, Offshore Oil & Gas and  Recreational.

UK maritime industries now contribute 10% of the UK’s workforce with 2.5 million people employed either directly or indirectly within the sector, those largely defined by any position on or related to the sea and waterways.

We of course welcome the report’s confirmation that the industry intends to improve cross-sector collaboration, however the sector must ensure that the strategic approach to supporting the UK maritime sector is total, not just for the selected few or at the highest level!

Without doubt shipping remains the cornerstone of the UK economy and the UK has a great maritime history however with increasing world trade and growing maritime leisure interests, the range of supporting maritime activities on these shores will only continue to grow and provide unique opportunities for growth, within both the domestic and export markets.

Today, we find a UK maritime sector that covers everything from shipping to sub-sea technology, ports to aquaculture, legal and financial services to renewable energy, historic vessels to marine engineering and from the Royal Navy to commercial fishing.

The National Maritime (NMDG) continues to engage with enthusiastic and passionate professionals who are looking to advance the state of the “UK maritime sector” and take on the challenge of ensuring that the UK remains a global maritime centre.

We believe the UK’s maritime industries remain one of the best prospects for high value, high skilled economic growth and is a sector that has many competitive advantages, across all sub- sectors.

We believe in our abilities to forge partnerships and key strategic alliances to make the #maritimeconnection

National Maritime (NMDG), the maritime network for industries influenced by the sea and waterways. A community interest company focused on supply chain development and the sustainable growth of estuarine and coastal communities, to drive sector and economic growth.

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