Meet The Finalists: Coastal Powerhouse Award


In recognition of the importance of the thriving clusters of maritime activity throughout the UK, the Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute (SMMI) has sponsored the Coastal Powerhouse category at the inaugural Maritime UK Awards.

Open to business, charity, organisation or a cohort of any size, this award will be made to those that have proven themselves as a driver or catalyst for growth within a coastal community. An ability to deliver the highest level of values, passion and vision to help transform the community into a Coastal Powerhouse will be crucial in the eyes of the judges.

The winners will be announced in front of 400 of the industry’s finest at a glittering ceremony at Southampton’s Leonardo Royal Hotel on Thursday 19 September during the Southampton International Boat Show.

SMMI Director, Professor Damon Teagle said: “The Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute (SMMI) is proud to sponsor the Maritime UK Awards hosted here in Southampton. As a globally leading maritime nation, the UK has strength in several clusters of maritime activity – or ‘Coastal Powerhouses’. Southampton and the Solent region in particular are an internationally significant economic gateway, with exceptional marine and maritime capabilities.

“In the Solent region maritime represents 20% of the economy, supports 120,000 jobs and facilitates trade worth £77.5bn. The Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute harnesses the multidisciplinary skills of the University of Southampton and its partners to help the marine and maritime sectors develop their use of research and innovation to improve productivity, economic growth and sustainability.”

Highly respected experts from a variety of businesses and government departments were involved in the panel and judge Iain Lower, Head of Naval Staff at the Royal Navy, said: “The standard of entrants surpassed our wildest expectations both in terms of quality and numbers.  More than anything it shows the UK maritime sector, which adds £37.4bn to the UK economy and supports just under 1 million jobs, is bursting with energy and innovation and is proud of its achievements.”

Shortlisted in the Coastal Powerhouse category are three strong entries: Mersey Maritime The Port of Cromarty Firth and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership

Mersey Maritime was formed in 2003 by a handful of maritime business leaders, in response to the challenging and fractured sector environment in the Liverpool City Region. The Mersey Maritime community has grown considerably from its original five founding members in 2003 to a membership of over 200 businesses in 2019. The value of the maritime industry to the Liverpool City Region has grown from £2.6bn in 2009 to £3.5bn in 2017. The impact and reach of Mersey Maritime is felt beyond the Liverpool City Region and, as cited in Maritime 2050, it is regarded as the best example of a maritime cluster organisation in the UK.

The Port of Cromarty Firth has the capacity to handle the world’s largest drilling and production units, production vessels, cargo and cruise ships, renewable energy structures and decommissioning projects. The Port is driven to ethically develop, improve and safeguard the Cromarty Firth for the benefit of all stakeholders and the coastal community in the Highlands. Over the past six years PoCF generated more turnover and profit per head than many other ports, 100% of which is reinvested into the port’s future development, for the benefit of the Highlands economy and coastal community - supporting its core customers in oil and gas was a key concern. In 2019, over 180,000 passengers will come in on 109 cruise ships, boosting the Highland economy by over £18m.

Formed by the Government, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is a locally owned partnership between businesses and local authorities and plays a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs. The Solent Maritime sector accounts for 20% (£5.5bn) of its economic output and is strategically important to the local and UK economies.  The LEP has invested £183m to drive growth across the region’s coastal communities. Focusing on SMEs, Solent LEP has invested £1.6m leveraging around £6.5m for the maritime industry in the Solent, and that has generated over 125 jobs and safeguarded a further 157. In 2018 the Solent LEP convened a delegation of Solent businesses who attended the first US/UK Maritime Nation's Forum in New York and it commissioned a Solent Region maritime economic footprint study in partnership with Maritime UK to reinforce the recognition merited to this key Solent based industry.

Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK, said: “What’s important about the Maritime UK Awards is they’re very much about showcasing the entire spectrum of maritime businesses, from consumer marine and cruising to advanced manufacturing and commercial shipping. I’m delighted to report that the entries very much bear this out. Throughout this process we’ve discovered world-class British products, services and initiatives that we didn’t previously have on our radar. That’s the real prize from these awards.”

Ben Murray, director at Maritime UK, said: “With the number and quality of the entries being so high the judges had the unenviable task of arriving at the shortlists. I think they’ve done a terrific job so huge thanks to everyone. I would also like to thank all the entrants for their enterprise, commitment and enthusiasm. Their support has been invaluable.”

The Maritime UK Awards are the first truly national maritime awards in the UK, organised by industry, for the benefit of industry. The inaugural event will take place in Southampton on 19th September, following a successful drive from Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the first awards ceremony to be held in the Solent.

To buy tickets to the awards evening visit the official website. All attendees will receive a free ticket to the Southampton International Boat Show, powered by Borrow A Boat, on purchase of their awards evening ticket.