Boosting maritime exports

The UK maritime sector exports its own cutting edge maritime products and services, encompassing excellence in design, technology, engineering, education and services.

The UK is a world-leader in a number of areas, particularly in the leisure and superyacht industries, and has the potential to lead the world in the exciting and innovative world of maritime autonomy. 

Government support for the sector, however, is lacking, and risks the country losing existing competitive advantage to competitors or failing to capitalise upon new opportunities, such as autonomy.

Marine engineering, for instance, has a dedicated Department for International Trade (DIT) team of roughly 1.5 people. The creative industry by comparison, has 25. Marine engineering has an export target far higher than creative. We believe this skewered imbalance needs to be reviewed. This personnel imbalance is emblematic of the lack of support in other areas, and the overall resource dedicated to the sector should be increased.

A number of our members are Trade Challenge Partners (TCPs), and we believe those that have qualified as TCPs should be entrusted to deliver mutually agreed programmes directly for DIT, rather than to third-party agencies that add little value to ensure that industry truly benefits and savings are made to the government purse.

  • Increased flexibility over the use of Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) funding
  • Prioritise tap grants to support targeted international attendance by UK companies 
  • Review export support for maritime vis-à-vis other sectors
  • Increased TAP funding
  • Greater government inclusion of maritime with communications and promotion
  • Maritime trade missions led by ministers
  • Ministerial attendance at overseas trade shows
  • Forging of a ‘Team UK’ approach, akin to that in competitor countries
  • Industry and government should agree on priority export markets, aligning resources and maximising output