Government transport minister Baroness Vere is shown proposed £25m Maritime Knowledge Hub site in Birkenhead by Mersey Maritime. Tony McDonough reports
Transport minister Baroness Vere has visited Merseyside to view the site of the proposed £25m Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead docklands.
She was invited to see the location of the project by industry body Mersey Maritime. She was also briefed on Mersey Maritime’s leading role in the rollout of a national initiative, the Regional Cluster Development Programme.
This is focused on growing the industry around the coastal communities of the UK. Baroness Vere then took part in a roundtable discussion with over 30 senior maritime industry figures.
Mersey Maritime unveiled plans for the MKH at London Shipping Week seven years ago. It is projected it will lead to the creation of 4,000 jobs in the first five years. The facility will also house a supercomputer.
Work is scheduled to start in 2023 with an expected build time of 18 months. A 60,000 sq ft facility, it will be built around the Grade II-listed 19th century hydraulic tower building. The tower is a copy of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, designed by John Bernard Hartley.
Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, said: “Mersey Maritime sits at the heart of the Liverpool city region’s £5bn maritime sector. It plays a crucial role in bringing our industry ecosystem together.
“It was a great honour for us to host a visit by the new Maritime Minister, Baroness Vere, who follows in a distinguished line of predecessors whom we’ve briefed on the dynamism that already exists in the sector here but also its ambition for the future.
“We were also able to give the Minister an insight into our wider role in pressing the case for regional cluster organisations which are focused on delivering jobs and growth to the area in which they operate, across the whole coast of the United Kingdom.
“Finally, with innovation such a pressing priority for Government just now, we were proud to provide Baroness Vere with an insight into the vision that sits behind the new Maritime Knowledge Hub project at Wirral Waters.”
Baroness Vere added: “Mersey Maritime is a great example of a regional cluster, bringing together businesses and key figures in the North West’s maritime sector to help deliver jobs and support growth.
“I was pleased to hold important conversations with sector leaders in the region today about the challenges faced by the industry, and also the opportunities available and how we can continue to work together to unleash its full potential.”