Mersey Maritime takes lead in growth of UK maritime ‘clusters’

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke took a lead role in the latest Maritime UK National Council, which was chaired by the Princess Royal

Mersey Maritime
The Princess Royal chairs the Maritime UK National Council meeting


Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke has met with maritime sector leaders from across the UK at an event chaired by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.

They came together for a Maritime UK National Council meeting in London and discussed  the development of regional maritime cluster organisations across the UK as part of the Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy.

Mr Shirling-Rooke, as assistant chair of Maritime UK, is the lead on the cluster priority. He was joined at the event by his Mersey Maritime colleague, Simon Eardley,  who has taken on the role of Maritime UK regional cluster development manager.

The National Council brings together leaders across the whole of the UK’s £46.1bn maritime sector and other key priorities such as ‘people’, ‘competitiveness’, the ‘environment’ and ‘innovation’ were also high on the agenda at the discussions.

Mr Shirling-Rooke said: “Mersey Maritime is proud to lead the regional cluster development programme on behalf of Maritime UK as we seek to drive forward the Maritime 2050 agenda, working in close collaboration with Government.

“Using our considerable experience, built up over nearly 20 years across maritime in Merseyside, assisting with this work was an obvious area for our organisation to be involved with.

“We’ve supported our colleagues in the Cornwall Marine Network and the South Coast Marine Cluster with the development of ‘Maritime UK South West’, seen the launch of ‘Maritime UK Solent’ and also started the process of developing a cluster organisation in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“There’s also considerable interest from a range of other partners around the country in this work programme and we are confident of being able to continue to deliver new and developing clusters right across the breadth of the UK.”

He added that now the General Election campaign was over, the new Government could not get on with the job of “powering up” the UK’s coastal communities. He said: “Here in Merseyside, many opportunities await in the months ahead, not least given our strategic importance as a gateway for transatlantic trade.

“Maritime already represents some £4.2bn to the local economy across the Liverpool city region and contributes both directly and indirectly to 52,000 jobs. The sector is set to grow substantially in the next few years and I am determined that our dynamic businesses and member organisations will maximise every opportunity to increase jobs and prosperity for the whole of our area.”

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