Liverpool ready to regain its status as the UK’s ‘gateway to the world’, Mersey Maritime chief to tell global audience

Chris Shirling-Rooke is one of a number of heavyweight speakers at the International Maritime Forum – part of Liverpool International Business Festival – on Thursday. Tony McDonough reports

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke at the Maritime Knowledge Hub


Maritime Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke will tell a global audience how Liverpool city region is now home to the most important industry cluster in the UK and was ready to lead the UK’s post-Brexit strategy.

Mr Shirling-Rooke is one of a number of heavyweight speakers, along with trade minister Baroness Fairhead and former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, at the International Maritime Forum – part of Liverpool International Business Festival – on Thursday, June 21.

The festival, the third the city has hosted, is welcoming 27,000 visitors and 150 delegations from across the world during its two-week duration.

Festival highlight

The International Maritime Forum, organised by Shipping Innovation – creator of London International Shipping Week, is one of the highlights of the festival with the maritime industry critical to the success of the UK’s post-Brexit trade strategy.

The forum will also include a session on Women in Maritime chaired by Helen Kelly, Europe editor in chief of Lloyds List and will issue a call to action is to get businesses to sign up to the Women in Maritime Pledge.

Mr Shirling-Rooke will take part in a key session, focusing on why maritime clusters have become so important. Liverpool city region’s diverse maritime sector is now worth an estimated £4bn and in April, David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK  praised Mersey Maritime’s “collaborative approach” which, he said, was a model for the rest of the UK to follow.

At the forefront

Mr Shirling-Rooke said: “On the opening day of the International Business Festival, the director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn reminded us that Liverpool once accounted for 10% of the world’s trade.

“The Maritime Forum will give us access to business people and maritime industry leaders from across the world and that is a golden opportunity to get the message out there that Merseyside is ready to regain its place as the UK’s gateway to the world.”

During the conference Lord Prescott and Baroness Fairhead will also discuss how the Northern Maritime Powerhouse impacts the UK’s trade growth goals.

Women in Maritime will be the final session of the day and Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK will present the work of the Women in Maritime taskforce and it’s key priorities of recruiting, remunerating, progressing, and retaining women in maritime roles.

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