Blog: Mersey Maritime optimistic as it drives forward the sector across the Liverpool City Region

With a long track record of driving job creation, business growth and strong representation for the maritime industry since its founding in 2002, Mersey Maritime is looking forward with optimism to its ongoing work in the Liverpool City Region – and is buoyed by the latest ‘State of the Maritime Region’ report findings. The importance of regional clusters and the organisations who run them has never been more central to the future of the local, regional and national economy than now as we emerge from the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and look towards the opportunities that a post-Brexit environment presents.

Growth and progress within the industry at a regional level is clearly illustrated within the latest Cebr analysis and all the signs are that it looks set to continue in the next period too. Standout headlines show that maritime is now worth £5billion to the LCR economy (up nearly a £billion since the last report), supports around 50,000 jobs and for every single job generated by the sector in 2019, a further 4.65 jobs are supported in the wider economy. But perhaps most importantly, these aren’t just any jobs, they are high quality and well paid with productivity amongst LCR maritime worker at £93,301 compared to the UK economy average of £56,670. The sector is also predicted to grow by 7.2% between 2021-25, having weathered the storm of the pandemic and powering on through the other side.

There’s an appetite and recognition from Government and from industry that regional bodies like Mersey Maritime, with their ear to the ground amongst businesses and organisations within the sector, have a vital role to play in driving forward future opportunities as we respond to the big and systemic challenges of our time: from the drive towards decarbonisation to pushing forward international trade opportunities right across the globe. And its no surprise that Mersey Maritime is now responsible for delivering key projects both within its own region and on a national scale as the Department for Transport and other government bodies look towards the cluster organisation to deliver agreed strategies and sector priorities.

Coastal communities, and the strength of their regional economy, are often heavily bound together with the maritime sector, not least as it offers good quality jobs, skills and career opportunities for people looking to get involved in a range of diverse subsectors. Mersey Maritime sits at the heart of this work in the Liverpool City Region with a driving ambition to be a catalyst for growth, have a direct impact on policy and help drive change for the good of the sector. It has come a long way in twenty years and has worked hard to build a genuine ecosystem which champions and supports one of the most diverse regions in the United Kingdom.

Central to the work of Mersey Maritime is its support for the delivery of the key strategic document, Maritime 2050, into which it had direct input when drafted and launched in 2019 and which has driven all aspects of its ongoing work ever since. As the first long-term strategy for the sector, and having been developed in close partnership with industry, the collaborative opportunity it represents is a strong set of principles and objectives that any regional cluster organisation can get behind. Mersey Maritime is fully committed to its ongoing success.

This isn’t a case of lofty theoretical principles. The essential nature of its work has been very apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic with Mersey Maritime businesses playing a critical role in keeping the country fed, fuelled and supplied, in spite of the wider challenge the UK’s departure from the European Union which was also rumbling on for much of 2020. Organisations such as Mersey Maritime have a crucial role to play in translating a specific regional context to a national level and helping to make sure that policy drivers fully understand the needs of individual companies within an area.

Mersey Maritime will continue to be fully committed to being at the forefront of the future delivery of many aspects of Maritime 2050; the future truly is optimistic for the sector across the whole country.

This blog was written as a feature for the 2022 State of the Maritime Nation Report.