Industry leaders and government ministers are due to meet at No 10 today (9 September 2013) to discuss securing Britain’s competitive edge in the maritime sector.
The roundtable will be attended by senior figures from top global shipping companies and world-respected London maritime business services. It is being held to coincide with London International Shipping Week, organised by Maritime UK and other industry partners, which runs until September 13.
Ministers and industry leaders will discuss what attracts international shipping business to the UK and what could be done to further boost its strong reputation as a global leader.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
This is an industry with a natural home in the UK and London is the centre of the world for the professional, business and financial services that keep ships sailing.
Our quality flag, attractive tax regime, competitive ports, skilled labour base, expert service sector, and stable regulatory framework put us in a strong position. We want to work with the industry to understand what could make the UK an even more attractive place to do business.
Shipping remains a growth industry in the UK and gross tonnage has more than trebled on the UK shipping register over the past decade. Employment in shipping has doubled from 73,000 in 2004 to 146,000 in 2011.
In order to ensure that the UK continues to have the skills and expertise needed to keep its place as a leading maritime centre, Mr McLoughlin has today (9 September 2013) announced that the £12 million a year budget for the government’s ‘Support for Maritime Training (SMarT)’ programme would receive a boost of up to £3 million a year, an increase of 25%, over the Spending Review period to the end of 2015/16. This would support up to an additional 200 trainees a year.
To coincide with London International Shipping Week, the department and UK Maritime have also today published a booklet, ‘Open for maritime business’ showcasing the depth of expertise and history offered by the UK across a full spectrum of maritime services and ‘Strategic partnership plans for ports and shipping’. These identify key priorities for maintaining a vibrant, quality and sustainable shipping industry and a thriving UK ports industry. By working in partnership, government, industry and other stakeholders can together ensure that that the maritime sector in the UK continues to grow.
Jim Stewart, Chairman of Maritime UK, said:
The launch of the strategic partnership plans and the ‘Open for maritime business’ booklet are products of the growing relationship between industry and government. But more importantly it shows our commitment as a country to use our proud maritime history to build a world-class maritime future.
We have the largest shipping companies, most innovative port operators and most comprehensive list of maritime business services companies, all based in the UK. Collectively, they provide an unrivalled wealth of expertise that few other economies could ever hope to replicate.
Today we begin the next chapter of the UK as a maritime nation. Together with government, we will do all we can to create new economic growth, new opportunities, and find new ways to keep the UK at the heart of global maritime business.
Throughout the week, ministers will be attending a number of events highlighting the strength of the UK’s maritime sector and its advantages over global competitors.
Monday September 9:
- Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond will visit the Port of London Authority in Gravesend, touring the Port Control Centre and taking a PLA boat to Westminster Pier
Tuesday September 10:
- Stephen Hammond will open the London Stock Exchange, highlighting the ready availability of the business services based in the City, essential to a thriving maritime sector
- the Transport Select Committee will hold a session at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich - the committee is expected to scrutinise how government works in partnership with the maritime sector to ensure the industry thrives, Stephen Hammond will be among the witnesses
- Stephen Hammond will propose a January 2015 start date for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) review of the availability of 0.5% sulphur fuel, at an event he is co-hosting with the Secretary General of the IMO, the UN’s maritime body which is based in London
- ministers will join industry and foreign delegates at the London International Shipping Week Welcome Reception at Lancaster House
Wednesday September 11:
- Stephen Hammond will host a reception for key shipping countries aboard HMS Northumberland - Mr Hammond will meet delegations from different countries to encourage more business to the UK
Thursday September 12:
- Stephen Hammond will give the key note speech at the London International Shipping Week conference on London propelling world trade
As capital of a major trading island nation, London is one of the most important global maritime hubs. It is home to the IMO and the International Chamber of Shipping, has the largest ports sector in Europe and the largest conglomeration of legal and financial maritime services in the world, The Greenwich Meridian allows us to do business with both sides of the world in the same working day. And with so many international shipping organisations and maritime attaches in the city, London offers quick access to decision-makers and experts.