News story

Marine industry to target growth beyond eurozone horizons

Government and industry-led plan to enhance the global competitiveness of British marine business unveiled at London Boat Show

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The boat marina at the London Boat Show
© onEdition

Exciting opportunities to export to countries like China, Brazil and South Korea have been identified and must be grasped by the British marine industry to help them deliver growth, Business Minister Michael Fallon said today.

Mr Fallon was speaking at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show as he unveiled a joint Government and industry-led plan to enhance the global competitiveness of British marine business – a sector worth £19 billion a year to our economy.

The UK Marine Export Strategy identifies some of the most promising sectors for British companies to target, including offshore oil & gas, naval defence and leisure boats & equipment.

Featuring eight recommendations for growth, the strategy also includes detailed analyses of emerging and mature economies across the world that present the best opportunities for exports.

Recommendations include:

  • Developing a campaign approach to identify and pursue major marine business opportunities
  • Enhancing the relationship management of existing key UK-based trade and investment customers as well as targeting overseas companies and potential inward investors
  • Encouraging inward investment into targeted segments of the UK marine and offshore wind sectors which will build the capability of the UK and in turn increase its exportability
  • Marketing UK marine excellence in high-growth markets like China, where luxury marine can form part of the Government’s GREAT campaign.

The strategy is being led by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), in close collaboration with industry and stakeholder bodies, and lays the foundation for a long-term strategic vision for the future of the British marine industries.

Business Minister Michael Fallon is Co-Chair of the Marine Industries Leadership Council – the advisory group comprising Government and industry which commissioned the strategy. He said:

The marine and maritime sectors are a vital part of our economy, contributing approximately £19 billion each year and employing 367,000 people. What we can do with this evolving strategy is build the foundations for the future of the British marine industry. It forms part of our wider Industrial Strategy, which is planning the long term success of British business.

A wealth of growth opportunities exist in the global marine sector that can benefit the UK economy. However, as this report highlights, UK companies face challenging conditions, particularly in more traditional markets like the European Union, which is why bigger opportunities lie further afield.

Richard Sadler, CEO of Lloyd’s Register and Co-Chair of the Marine Industries Leadership Council, said:

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is clearly raising the priorities for our marine and maritime industries and it is up to us to make the most of the opportunity.

We are optimistic about the future of our sector, led by humanity’s desire to recover from difficult times. We believe things will get better in the next couple of years, so I call on UK marine and maritime companies to invest with government in innovation, training and exports.

The launch of the strategy will coincide with the launch of the Technology Strategy Board’s £8 million Vessel Efficiency Collaborative Research and Development Competition. Together with the MOD’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory and Scottish Enterprise, the competition will invest in collaborative Research & Development and fast-track projects to deliver viable solutions for more efficient marine vessels.

Iain Gray, CEO of Technology Strategy Board, said:

The Vessel Efficiency Competition is a first for the UK, driving innovation and technology to deliver growth across the marine and maritime sector which is predicted to grow to around £25 billion per year by 2020.

Our competition offers real growth opportunities in each of the main sectors – commercial, offshore, naval and leisure. Its focus is to build collaboration across the maritime and marine industry whilst at the same time developing UK-based supply chains and SMEs.

Notes to editors

1. Marine sector

The UK marine sector, as defined in the UKTI Export Strategy, encompasses:

  • Leisure marine, covering boat and yacht building, superyacht, small commercial workboats and associated equipment and services *Commercial marine, covering boat building, ship repair and associated equipment and services, marine science and technology
  • Energy, covering marine-related platforms, products and services for the oil and gas and offshore renewable industries
  • Naval defence.

2. Export strategy

2.1. The Marine Industries Alliance launched ‘A strategy for growth for the UK Marine Industries’ in late 2011. It sets out the ambition that co-operation across the sector could produce 4 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate, leading to an increased Gross Value Added of around £25 billion by 2020. The export strategy is a key part of delivering that growth.

2.2. The Marine Industries Leadership Council, co-chaired by Business Minister Michael Fallon, and leading industrial representative Richard Sadler, CEO Lloyd’s Register, commissioned the UKTI Marine Sector Advisory Group (MSAG) to produce an export strategy.

2.3. This focus on the marine sector sits within a broader context, where the Prime Minister has set a National Export Challenge to get an additional 100,000 UK firms exporting and the Chancellor has set a target of more than doubling the amount the UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. UKTI has also set a target of increasing to 50,000 the number of companies it helps by 2014-15 and raising the value of additional sales achieved by UK companies as a result of its support to £56 billion.

2.4. The export strategy recommends a number of actions be undertaken in the short term that will set a framework to support UK businesses in the marine sector to improve their global competitiveness and performance.

2.5. View a copy of the UK Marine Export Strategy here:

3. Technology Strategy Board

3.1. The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

3.2. For more information about the TSB and its Vessel Efficiency Collaborative Research and Development Competition, please visit

4. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

5. Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 14 January 2013