These areas include the following:
- Green maritime - UK companies are in a good position to provide technologies to the world’s fleets to meet new International Maritime Organization regulations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes companies supplying the innovative Silverstream air friction devices that improve the energy efficiency of ships and hybrid propulsion technologies or Windship which is working on augmenting engine propulsion with the wind;
- Digital technologies - making the sector a world-leader in digital technologies, including cyber security and the operation and connectivity of global commercial fleets;
- Autonomous vessels - as a market leader in small 24 metre and below designed surface and underwater autonomous vessels the UK is in the first wave of innovators in this area and can capitalise on our excellent track record in AI to scale up technology in autonomy at sea. Autonomous systems are also increasingly needed in vessels and ports;
- Marine science - promoting the UK’s capability in marine science will create opportunities for inward investment and collaborative partnerships and provide solutions to the challenges facing the global maritime community. One example of a newly UK constructed advanced scientific research vessel is the Sir David Attenborough;
- Maritime professional and business services - to encourage and help new exporters with market access, overcoming barriers to trade and market intelligence, as well as attract greater foreign direct investment into the sector.
Commenting on the new plan, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP, mentioned that:
The UK has a world-class reputation in maritime with a long history in shipping and great port cities up and down the country. Our Trade and Investment 5 Year Plan sets out how we can showcase this and our global capabilities in maritime technology, science and shipbuilding. As an island nation, our oceans are a precious resource and shipping a vital economy. We are committed to working with coastal communities and the maritime sector to drive growth and make sure businesses are ready to trade on October 31
What is more, a new Maritime Export and Investment advisory Group (MEIG), chaired by trade body Maritime UK, will also advise firms on industry trends, how to access support to leverage global opportunities and consult industry on the most important market access challenges that the government can address.
In addition, Harry Theochari, Maritime UK’s Chair, believes that the plan will help the UK improve its competitiveness by boosting the export of its maritime products and services, while at the same time attracting more investment into the country.
A key product of Maritime 2050 has been the establishment of Maritime Research and Innovation UK, which is the national collaborative research and innovation body for the sector. Its initial innovation gives emphasis on decarbonisation, digitisation and automation, and mirrors those established in the plan.
That means we are properly joined up with the government- innovating the products and services the world needs, and then getting them to customers in markets across the world through the actions in this plan
Harry Theochari added.
Today, the maritime sector is one of Britain’s biggest industries, supporting approximately £46.1bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) and over one million jobs.
Moreover, the Maritime Trade and Investment Five Year Plan is the next stage of the government’s export strategy to make sure that the economy is fit for the future, in order increase exports as a percentage of GDP from 30% to 35%.
The ultimate goal of the plan is to strengthen UK’s position in maritime and provide an opportunity for businesses to establish trading ties with partners around the world.