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Without doubt, shipping remains the cornerstone of the UK maritime sector and we have a great maritime history, however with increasing world trade and growing maritime leisure interests, the range of supporting maritime activities on these shores will surely 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.

A wider maritime sector whose industries now support 10% of the UK’s workforce, those either employed  directly or indirectly within the sector,  defined by any position on or related to the sea and waterways, that contributes £56 bn of UK GDP per annum.

The Maritime Growth Study tells us how the departure of large scale commercial shipbuilding from our shores forced the UK maritime sector to evolve, bringing to the forefront our expertise in maritime- related business services, as well as marine manufacturing, engineering and technology.

We are also told that the UK is an ambitious country, hungry for economic and sector growth. The UK is undoubtedly an attractive destination for inward investment and continues to be a top destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) but are we truly serious about ‘keeping the UK maritime sector competitive in a global market’?

As the largest representative body for the maritime sector in the Thames and Channel region and a not –for- profit business, National Maritime is a powerhouse of businesses working in the maritime sector focused on supply chain development and the sustainable growth of estuarine and coastal communities. We continue to promote the UK as a world class location central to the countries global maritime aspirations, whose industries are ambitious to drive trade, productivity and economic growth.

But is it now time to consider establishing a single leadership for the sector, which does not undermine the sense of responsibility that other individual organisations feel and have, for their sub-sector or local communities? An organisation that would provide a single conduit to bringing coherent sector support, reduced bureaucracy, which adds weight to arguments for infrastructure improvements and destination making. An organisation that also ensures that the strategic approach to supporting the UK maritime sector is total, not just for the selected few or at the highest level!

After all, we already see skills integration and the sharing of resources between maritime sub-sectors, so why not make it even easier for maritime businesses and entrepreneurs across all sub-sectors, to access and utilise the right information and expert advice to start, thrive and grow their business.

The breadth and diversity throughout the UK maritime sector is one of its greatest strengths, let’s maximise the opportunity and actively encourage cross sector collaboration to simplify the approach that best drives sector success and economic growth.  Make the #maritimeconnection join us info@nmdg.co.uk

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