Port of Felixstowe
Image Source: John Fielding
The global ocean economy will soon be worth 2030
Richard Bell

Govt unveils new strategy to shore up UK’s £14bn maritime economy

The Government has unveiled a new strategy to position the UK as a global test-bed for emerging technology and innovation in the maritime sector.

Launched today (January 24), Maritime 2050 will aim to make the country a world leader in the industry for the next 30 years.

It sets out a raft of short-, medium- and long-term proposals that include developing training, infrastructure and tech to keep Britain’s maritime industry flourishing.

Proposals in Maritime 2050 include establishing an innovation hub at one of the UK’s ports, exploring ways to clean up maritime emissions and improving the training available to seafarers.

New legislation will introduce a domestic framework for autonomous vessels, with a view to making UK waters the best place in the world to trial this technology.

In the area of a seafarer training, the Government will establish a Maritime Skills Commission to investigate the use of innovations like virtual and augmented reality in seafarer training.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said of the strategy: “Maritime is a vital UK industry, bringing in £14bn to our economy as well as providing thousands of new and exciting careers for people across the country.

“This strategy is a clear message to the world – we will continue to be a leading maritime nation for the next 30 years and beyond.

He added: “We will be at the forefront of emerging technology and seafarer training and will capitalise on selling this expertise to companies across the world.”

Hugh McNeal, chairman of the expert panel convened for Maritime 2050, commented:

“Over the last year it has been a privilege to chair the expert panel which has brought together leaders from across the sector, from other world-class industries, academia and promotional bodies, to challenge and support the development of Maritime 2050.”

He continued: “The result is a wide ranging and hugely ambitious blueprint for Britain’s future as a maritime nation ensuring the economy continues to grow successfully into the second half of the 21st Century.”

Maritime UK chairman Harry Theochari said of the plans: “For the first time the maritime sector has a real long term strategy – setting out what government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.

“There are monumental opportunities for our sector – whether on technology, coastal economic development, attracting more maritime business to our shores or for the people that underpin our success.”

It follows research showing that by 2030, the global ocean economy will have doubled in value to $3tn.

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