Mersey Maritime takes leading role in major Government strategy

Maritime 2050 aims to set a ‘roadmap’ for the growth of the maritime industries over the coming decades with Merseyside’s £4bn maritime sector at the heart of the strategy. Tony McDonough reports

River Mersey
Liverpool city region’s maritime sector is seen as a leading European cluster. Picture by Tony McDonough


Mersey Maritime is to play a leading role in the Government’s newly published long-term strategy for the UK maritime sector.

Maritime 2050 aims to set a ‘roadmap’ for the growth of the maritime industries over the coming decades, with its importance thrown into sharp focus due to Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union.

Described as both “visionary and aspirational”, the strategy highlights the government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector – worth more to the economy than aerospace or car manufacturing.

Diverse industry

The Maritime 2050 document references Mersey Maritime, which represents Liverpool city region’s diverse and growing maritime industry, which is estimated to be worth around £4bn and includes more than 30 sub-sectors.

With companies such as Peel Ports, ACL and Royal HaskoningDHV, as well as a plethora of innovative SMEs, Mersey Maritime is now recognised as the most successful maritime cluster organisation in Europe.

Maritime 2050 is based around seven themes: technology, trade, environment, people, infrastructure, security/resilience and the UK’s competitive advantage. It recognises significant opportunities, which include:

  • Fostering innovation in new technologies like autonomy and clean growth.
  • Attracting more maritime business to the UK.
  • Driving coastal economic development to create a coastal powerhouse.
  • Grow a skilled and diverse workforce.

Maritime innovation

The strategy will look to strengthen the UK’s reputation for maritime innovation with an initial focus on autonomy and low-carbon technologies. For many of these technologies there is a time-limited golden opportunity to be an early adopter, particularly on low-carbon.

Mersey Maritime chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, said: “Given the strain the Department for Transport is currently under with Brexit, we’re delighted with this vision for the future of the UK’s most important industry. 

“The nod to the importance of coastal powerhouses such as Liverpool, Hull and Southampton demonstrates the growing acknowledgement of the impact regional cluster organisations have on UK plc. 

International Maritime Forum
Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke says Merseyside is a ‘coastal powerhouse’


“We welcome the drive to create a port-based maritime Centre of Excellence by 2030, although I’m confident we can have a world-leading facility within five years given the work already underway by Mersey Maritime and our commitment to create an additional 4,000 jobs over that period.

“Mersey Maritime looks forward to supporting all of the existing and newly established cluster organisations with the UK in the future.”

Global context

Maritime UK chair, Harry Theochari, added: “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.

“The global ocean economy will double in value to $(US)3trn by 2030. Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, andMaritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise.”

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