A sell-out audience of 450 people gathered for the awards ceremony and also heard the announcement that Maritime UK will open its new northern office at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool city region’s £4bn maritime sector last night cemented its global status with the biggest and best Mersey Maritime Industry Awards (MMIAs) 2018 so far.
A sell-out audience of 450 people gathered for the awards ceremony held at Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium, and hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, to see accolades handed out to the very best performers in the sector.
Notable winners on the night included Liverpool John Moores University Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill, who was the recipient of the Maritime Ambassador’s Award and Peel Ports Group which scooped the National Impact Award. Accu-right Engineering won the Business of the Year accolade.
Accepting his award, a shocked Prof Weatherill said: “I am totally and utterly surprised by this award and it has left me somewhat speechless.
“It is an enormous privilege to lead the team at the university and to be connected to other teams across the Liverpool city region. I work with a fantastic group of people.”
The success of the evening demonstrated Mersey Maritime’s status as the leading cluster in Europe, representing a sector that employs 28,000 people across the city region.
And, to further underline that point, Mersey Maritime announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Maritime UK that will see the national body open its new northern office at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead.
As the sector’s umbrella body, Maritime UK brings together the UK’s shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries to promote the sector, influence government and drive growth.
Mersey Maritime joined Maritime UK in 2017 and since then has been spearheading the organisation’s work in developing a network of regional maritime hubs. The agreement will help Mersey Maritime to further support the national sector, which employs around 1m people and is annually worth £40bn.
The cluster model developed in the Liverpool city region is recognised by the European Commission as the “gold standard”.
Among the guests at Thursday night’s MMIAs, now in their fourth year, were a number of political and business heavyweights, including Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Andrew Moffatt, Chairman Elect of Maritime UK, as well as a high level delegation from the Port of Rotterdam.
Addressing the guests at the start of the evening, Mersey Maritime chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, outlined the breadth of the organisation’s membership and of the wider sector in the Liverpool city region.
“When we think about maritime do we think about the big data and IT companies, the offshore gas businesses and engineering companies, of which there are around 600 in the Liverpool city region – many of them exporting across the world?” he asked.
“Do we think of the lawyers and the accountants, the shipbuilders, the freight forwarders the colleges, the universities? They are all part of our maritime eco system and they support each other – that is what we do.
“We have been named as an exemplar and we are seen as the best cluster in Europe. What we do here is all about leadership and teamwork.”
The full list of winners of the MMIA 2018 is as follows:
Engineering Company of the Year – Sponsored by RSM UK
Accu-Right Engineering Limited
Freight & Logistics Award – Sponsored by Seatruck Ferries
Liverpool John Lennon Airport & Wynne Aviation
Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Stellamar
Global Reach Award – Sponsored by Natwest
Innovation Award – Sponsored by Peel Ports
Marlan Maritime Technologies
Maritime Professional Services Award – Sponsored by Tilney
Positive Impact Award – Sponsored by Associated British Ports (ABP)
Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST)
National Impact Award – Sponsored by Maritime UK
Peel Ports Group
Rising Star – Sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University
Sophie Phillips – Complete Training Solutions
Micro Business of the Year – Sponsored by MTC
SME of the Year – Sponsored by Royal HaskoningDHV
Offshore Painting Services
Maritime Ambassador’s Award – Sponsored by Beech Group
Professor Nigel Weatherill, Vice Chancellor, Liverpool John Moores University
Business of the Year – Sponsored by Stream Marine Training
Accu-Right Engineering Limited