Thank you Jim. You are right, the UK is open for maritime business.
London as a one-stop shop
In 1688, entrepreneur Edward Lloyd opened a new coffee house in London.
It became popular with sailors, shipowners and merchants as a place to discuss shipping news and insurance deals.
So popular, in fact, that it led to the creation of Lloyd’s of London, Lloyd’s Register, and Lloyd’s News – the forerunner of Lloyd’s List.
From humble beginnings, Edward Lloyd was instrumental in creating a raft of businesses and services to support the evolving shipping industry.
And his influence continues to be felt today.
Because the UK is still a maritime nation. London is still a maritime city. And we still offer a one stop shop for the global shipping industry.
Benefits from maritime
But just as the maritime industry benefits from London and the UK, so we as a country also get huge benefits from the maritime industry.
You carry 95% of our exports and imports by volume.
The ferry routes you provide are critical. Linking us to Europe and keeping the UK together with lifeline services to our islands.
The maritime sector, including ports, shipping and services, directly contributes up to £14 billion a year to the UK economy.
You support our car industry. And you help deliver the raw materials and components that keep the manufacturing industry efficient and profitable.
On a wider scale, your business keeps the global economy moving, enabling world trade through efficient and competitively priced services…..
And as the international cruise industry continues to grow, you support our economies by boosting tourism, and carrying holidaymakers all over the world.
With all this activity you should be proud of what you do and what you have achieved.
But far too many people fail to recognise the enormous contribution that sea-going transport makes to our society and our prosperity.
Because it works all year round. Because it is reliable. The maritime industry is out of sight and out of mind.
Few stop and think about how new products end up on the shelves of UK shops.
And few consider the role that the maritime sector is already playing in our economic recovery.
London International Shipping Week
But London International Shipping Week has reminded us all how great the British maritime industry really is.
The Prime Minister recognised it at the ministerial and industry roundtable at 10 Downing Street on Monday.
Stephen Hammond opened the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning with Frank Coles of Inmarsat – clear recognition of the expert financial support that London has to offer the maritime business.
The joint government and Maritime UK welcome reception at Lancaster House on Tuesday was another highlight.
Ministers certainly appreciated the opportunity to meet so many industry leaders.
And not forgetting that Boris Johnson also dropped by.
We hosted key shipping countries aboard HMS Northumberland last night, moored in the heart of Canary Wharf.
And here we are now at this splendid gala dinner.
We have really given the world something to talk about.
And I hope we have demonstrated that this government recognises the contribution you make.
We also recognise the importance of jobs in the industry.
We are determined to see ports, shipping and maritime services continue to create high quality employment for the UK workforce…
Including jobs on ships, from crew to entertainers…
Jobs at ports from pilots to crane operators.
And jobs in the city, from insurance to shipbroking.
But the wider economy benefits from indirect employment too.
In service industries around our coastline.
In freight transport delivering goods to and from ports.
Maritime’s multiplier effect on employment is substantial.
If you continue to provide the employment opportunities….
We will continue to invest in an educated and motivated workforce.
The UK already has 26 universities and colleges offering maritime courses.
And on Monday I was delighted to announce a 25% increase to the government’s £12 million annual maritime training budget to 2016.
This could fund an extra 200 trainees a year. We now look to industry to make these places available.
The UK working internationally
We are proud to support improvements to working conditions in the industry.
Our ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention is an example.
And the UK will do more.
We will look to adopt international conventions more rapidly, we will work with the IMO on energy efficiency which is good for trade, good for profits and good for the environment.
We will work with the IMO to reduce administrative burdens.
And we will do the same in the UK.
Our Royal Navy will continue to provide you with security…
And to be at the heart of international naval co-operation to improve the governance of the seas.
It will be deployed in critical chokepoints to guard the worldwide flows of energy and resources…
And it will work with regional partners to promote stability, develop their ability to harness their marine and sub-sea resources, and promote their – and our – prosperity.
And we will not stop there.
Efficient global trade needs strong world maritime centres such as London to provide access to the services and expertise it needs.
So we will remain a competitive place to do business.
We will listen to you and we will foster a collaborative approach with you, domestically and internationally.
Through good times and bad, shipping, ports and maritime business services have been critical to the UK.
That’s something that Edward Lloyd appreciated 325 years ago.
And it’s something we appreciate today.
The industry’s importance to our modern economy and society remains undiminished.
But that doesn’t mean we stand still.
It means we are committed to working with you to evolve and improve.
Through stronger government and industry partnerships…
And developing the most attractive environment for maritime investment…
We are determined to remain the world’s pre-eminent maritime centre.
Thank-you for listening.
And enjoy the rest of the evening.