Blog: Year in Review

Year in review

Each Christmas Maritime UK writes a year-end review, sharing key activities and developments for the organisation and wider sector across the year. This year, again, we have seen real progress by Maritime UK and its members, as well as in close partnership with the government.

There have been several headline policy wins as well as strengthening industry commitment to delivering Maritime 2050, particularly through industry-led programmes. There have also been significant headwinds, but the sector has worked well together to respond. There will be much to do in 2023, not least in working with government to produce a Clean Maritime Plan that helps move the dial on maritime decarbonisation, but we are in a strong position to be able to deliver on the level of ambition shared across industry. 

Special thanks to our member organisations who choose to collaborate through Maritime UK. Without their proactive commitment to collaboration, we would not be able to make the progress that we are making. Earlier in the year were pleased to welcome a new member in the form of the Connected Places Catapult. The catapult is increasing its focus on the maritime sector, and by becoming members, is able to work as closely as possible with industry to maximise the impact of their interventions within the maritime sector.

Maritime UK thanks its members and partners for their support in 2022. We hope you enjoy looking back over the year and look forward to working together in 2023.

At the heart of Maritime UK’s work is the mission to grow the profile and increase understanding of the maritime industries. This year Maritime UK has delivered activity to grow appreciation across government, parliament and the general public. Without a good understanding of maritime, we will not be able to drive the enabling support we need to realise our vision for 2050. That we are increasing awareness is very welcome.

Despite the unusually high churn of ministers through reshuffle after reshuffle, maritime has remained on the government’s agenda. Maritime UK has delivered a comprehensive programme of political engagement throughout the year, ranging from Party Conferences, Select Committee appearances, Parliamentary Drop-ins, 121 meetings and flagship national events.

Whilst the sector has a strong and effective primary relationship with the Department for Transport, there have been other departments from which we would like to see much deeper engagement. This has been a key focus for 2022 and it’s starting to bear real fruits. We now have a shared heading with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and hope to publish a joint action plan early next year. This would cover decarbonisation, regional clusters, research and development, and financial products. The relationship has deepened with the Department for International Trade, thanks to the establishment of the Maritime Capability Campaign Office, with the Ministry of Defence in terms of the National Shipbuilding Strategy and with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on freeports. This deeper and broader purposeful relationship across government is something that Maritime UK is focused on further delivering in 2023.

During Maritime UK Week, we launched our key policy document for the next term, the Programme for Government. This sets out over forty policy recommendations across five key priority areas and was developed as a statement of collective interests across the Maritime UK membership. To support the launch of the document, Maritime UK held its second parliamentary drop-in of the year with a number of its members. The drop-in session was sponsored by former Maritime Minister Robert Courts MP and saw  MPs from across parties and the country attend.

At Conservative Party Conference this year, Maritime UK held its annual Maritime Reception with speeches from the Transport and Defence Secretaries. Following this, Maritime UK held a private dinner for industry with the Transport Secretary and R&D Minister, sponsored by PD Ports. At Labour Party Conference, in Liverpool, Maritime UK partnered with Mersey Maritime to hold briefing session afloat the Floating Grace with shadow ministers and Labour MPs.

Maritime UK also coordinated a letter from Conservative Party MPs to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss during the Conservative Party Leadership content. The letter called on both candidates to commit to a targeted plan for coastal economic development, with maritime identified as a key sector for driving such growth.

June saw MPs scrutinise delivery of Maritime 2050, with the organisation giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee. Owing to political events, the publication of the report’s recommendations will be in the new year. That the committee chose to focus on maritime and will make recommendations for accelerating the pace of delivery is to be welcomed the industry. It was also an opportunity to shine a light on some of the great work being delivered across the sector in response to the strategy, and that should be commended. You can read Maritime UK’s submission to the inquiry here.

In June, Department for Transport published the Maritime Recovery Route Map which outlines actions and projects to support recovery from the pandemic and accelerate the implementation of Maritime 2050. Maritime UK and its members worked on behalf of the industry to present robust industry actions for inclusion in the route map. These are now being delivered.

In September, Sally-Ann Hart MP secured a Westminster Hall debate on the future of Coastal Communities. A cohort from Maritime UK’s Parliamentary Caucus attended the debate which resulted in several direct references to Maritime UK and its current work. Building upon the letter from Tory MPs, this debate helped to make the connection between maritime and coastal economic development in the eyes of decision-makers.

Looking beyond Westminster, Maritime UK runs the Cross-Party Group on Maritime and Shipbuilding in the Scottish Parliament. This year, SMI, the Workboat Association and CLIA have delivered sessions relating to their policy priorities. Maritime UK’s ambitions for next year include expanding into the Senedd. With focus traditionally being at Westminster, there is much that devolved administrations can do to support the sector’s interests. 

Every two years Maritime UK commissions an industry-wide economic impact report that highlights the key role that maritime has in supporting the UK economy. The most recent report, launched in June revealed the £116bn economic impact of UK maritime, which is more than rail and aviation combined. In total the data shows that the sector supports 1,064,000 jobs, which are 45% more productive than the UK average. They are also well-paid, with average remuneration 30% higher than the UK benchmark.

Public engagement occurred throughout the year, primarily through media campaigns and the careers and outreach programme. The crescendo was Maritime UK Week, which ran from 10-16 October. Over the course of the week, there were over forty events which engaged with 2500+ schoolchildren, and 2,000 members of the public in face to face, hands-on activity. We also secured 186 pieces of coverage in the regional and national news with a combined media audience reach of 1.78 billion.

The Maritime Skills Commission this year launched a new project on green skills to help ensure that the maritime industries have the skills required to enable its decarbonisation. The project kick starts with the appointment of Kit Williams to coordinate the delivery of recommendations from the Maritime Skills Commission's (MSC) Skills for Green Jobs Position Paper. It is being delivered through a partnership between the MSC and Cornwall Marine Network (CMN). Research has estimated that the UK maritime sector will create over 1.7 million new green and full-time equivalent roles by 2030. It is also indicated that 900,000 to 1.3 million of these positions will be directly related to energy efficiency and low-carbon heating. The remainder of these roles will be established by developing pre-existing jobs into greener ones. Earlier in the year, Maritime Skills Commission launched a Skills for Green Jobs Position Paper, the paper sets out 7 actions for the Commission following the evidence-gathering sessions and independent report at COP26. Read the position paper here.

In March, the Maritime Skills Commission launched its Future Ports Workforce Research, as a result of the recommendations from the Labour Market Intelligence Scoping Report in October 2020. The modern port is a significantly different place to the port of history. It is increasingly shaped by forces such as globalisation of supply chains, automation, and digitisation. It is also shaped by external imperatives such as sustainability. We expect these trends to not only continue but to accelerate. Read the report here. In October it was announced that the MSC would partner with Port Skills and Safety and the National Skills Academy for Rail to produce a Skills Intelligence Model for ports. Work has now commenced, and early findings will be shared in the first quarter of 2023.

The Cadet Training and Modernisation (CT&M) programme is now its 13th month of delivery. The numerous stakeholders involved are focused on the delivery of the 23 recommendations detailed in the Maritime Skills Commission Report (June 21). Currently, there are approximately 47 people, across 30 organisations, dedicating hundreds of hours of their time and expertise to support the successful outcome of the programme. Consultation groups have been formed to work on the required modernisation and funding, ranging from Education Policy & Technical, Cadet Funding and Programme Communications.

Furthermore, the Maritime Skills Commission is commissioning a report to look at behaviours and soft skills for all levels of the workforce and management leadership skills across the UK maritime sector.

In December, the Maritime Skills Commission met for the final time this year and endorsed the Chairs of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce and Careers Taskforce to become Commissioners.

2022 saw the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce receive a refresh as the incumbents reached the end of their tenure. The new Chair of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce is Ian Hampton, COO and Executive Director, Stena Line.

Women in Maritime launched a brand-new Global Women in Maritime Series, held in partnership with Women in Maritime Australia on International Day for Women in Maritime. The series featured a raft of speakers from both sides of the world and opened up a global dialogue, which shares best practices, lessons learned and the unique experiences of being Women in Maritime on either side of the world. Women in Maritime Network has held a combined Women in Maritime meeting with the Port of Tyne, British Marine at the Southampton Boatshow, and held its second Women in Summit during Maritime UK Week. This year’s Summit included Women in Logistics as well as Women in Rail, Women in Transport, Women in Aviation and KTN.

The Pride in Maritime Network continues to go from strength to strength and 2022 meetings have been held with The Seafarers’ Charity, ABP, RNLI and Harland and Woolf. In February 2022, Pride in Maritime Day was launched at the end of LGBT+ History Month and plans are now underway for 2023. For the first time Pride in Maritime marched in Pride London along with Port of London Authority, The Seafarers’ Charity, BPA, iSWAN, Stena Line, Nautilus International and more. Watch this space for more industry roundtables during 2023.

Ethnicity in Maritime saw the appointment of two new Chairs as part of the Taskforce refresh. The network is very grateful to outgoing chairs Cecilia Harvey and Julie Lithgow for their support in building and growing the network. The new chairs are Saurabh Sachdeva (OCIFM) and Shenaz Bussawon (BPA). Book Club has come to an organic end and the network would like to thank Samaa Addo (The Baltic Exchange) and Julie Lithgow for turning an idea into action. We shared the series of books during a special roundtable during Maritime UK Week.

Mental Health in Maritime network has continued to run its ‘Creating a Culture of Care’ Lunch and Learn series during 2022 and seen a number more leaders sign the Pledge. Network meetings were hosted online and at Mersey Maritime this year and plans are underway for more hybrid meetings next year. The new Chair of the network is Chris Shirling-Rooke, replacing Stu Pollard. We are very grateful to both of them for their support.

The Diversity in Maritime Charter continues to expand and The Seafarers’ Charity joining the programme. Earlier in the year, the Tees and Hartlepool Port Users’ Association (THPUA) and leading North-East maritime businesses committed to shifting the dial on mental health provisions and gender equality across their organisations by signing the Diversity in Maritime Pledges.

On International Women’s Day a new Menopause Hub was launched and a series of events held. More to follow on this in 2023!

The Maritime Industry Ambassadors have spoken to over 75,000 young people since the programme began. The MNTB Careers at Sea ambassadors have now joined the Inspiring the Future Maritime Industry Ambassadors Programme to ensure a greater impact of the programme. There are now over 260 industry ambassadors raising awareness of the Maritime Industry across the UK.

The Maritime Masters finalist’s reception happened once again at Clarksons Head Office during Maritime UK Week. This year’s winner was Aidan Carroll from the University of Plymouth, whose passion for Seafarer’s welfare & retention shone through!

The Careers Professionals Network has grown over the year and currently, has over 400 individuals subscribed. Jess Huxley holds termly CPD sessions to increase the awareness of the Maritime Industry within the community of Careers advisors and teachers, with the recent session shining a spotlight on Tidal Stream Industries.

The Careers and Outreach Programme is looking forward to increased activity across 2023 and invites members to get involved in key dates such as National Apprenticeship Week, National Careers Week and London International Shipping Week! 2023 will also see the delivery of Roadshows for Girls.

On the environment, 2022 was the year in which the hard-won funding for UK Shore started to be invested in the sector. Maritime UK and its members played an important role in facilitating consortia building sessions across the country and worked through the Clean Maritime Council to shape the scope and form for the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competitions rounds.

Initiatives from COP26 also started to be progressed, with partners coming together to flesh out what Green Shipping Corridors could look like, and funding awarded to support feasibility studies.

Government consulted on several key building blocks for next year’s Clean Maritime Plan refresh like the Course to Zero and proposed extension to the UK’s Emissions Trading Scheme for domestic shipping. This was carried out through Maritime UK supported member collective interests submissions and briefings

With the refresh of the Clean Maritime Plan (CMP) set to be published at London International Shipping Week in September 2023, Maritime UK has already begun to engage with key stakeholders across government departments and in Parliament to outline policy recommendations that the maritime sector wants to see included in the CMP Refresh. These include clear targets for achieving net zero carbon emissions, broad engagement with industry across all government departments, a long-term funding strategy and policy framework to bring about domestic maritime decarbonisation, and a renewed commitment for the UK to continue influencing the international framework through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Maritime UK continues to work hand in hand with Mersey Maritime, in the rollout of the ambitious ‘Regional Cluster Development Programme’. Led by Simon Eardley and Chris Shirling-Rooke, this has continued to focus this year on supporting our existing network of regional cluster organisations who are members of Maritime UK in Merseyside (Mersey Maritime), the Solent (MUK Solent), the South West (MUK South West, including Cornwall Marine Network) and Northern Ireland (Belfast Maritime Consortium) and those who are active members of the MUK Regional Council network that we have established. The latter includes Scotland through the Scottish Maritime Cluster  and in the Humber region through the new Humber Marine and Renewables which has developed out of Team Humber Marine Alliance. Work continues to establish RCOs in East Anglia, the North East of England, the South East of England and to identify stakeholders to support development activity in areas such as Wales.

The Maritime UK Regional Council exists to bring together maritime RCOs from across the UK, in doing so, these RCOs seek to share best practice, collaborate and support the creation of new cluster organisations. Over the course of 2022 the Regional Council has met on a number of occasions, typically hosted in-person in a different part of the country. Engagement has been wide-ranging and has included briefings from a number of key stakeholders such as the Maritime Skills Commission, BEIS (Home Shipping Credit Guarantee Scheme), Royal Navy (regional command), Connected Places Catapult, Casper Shipping / North East School of Shipping, Innovate UK and Innovate UK-KTN. Each meeting of the Regional Council includes an opportunity for RCOs to present a comprehensive update on their activity over the previous quarter and this information is then collated into a report which is circulated to stakeholders within Government and published online via the MUK website. All recent reports are available to view here: Regional Developments | Maritime UK

Engagement with a range of internal and external stakeholders is a key part of the work of the Regional Council and the Regional Cluster Development Programme activity in general. This year, for example, the team supported the launch of the third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition by arranging a series of industry consortia-building events that took place throughout the country. These were held either in-person or online in October 2022 as follows: Maritime UK South West (03/10), Mersey Maritime (04/10), Maritime UK Solent (05/10), the North East (Port of Tyne) (10/10), Scotland (11/10) and the South East (13/10).

The relationship between regions and the Department for Transport is a crucial one and their support and engagement with this programme of activity is appreciated on an ongoing basis. Wider governmental engagement during the year has included a series of roundtables between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Advanced Manufacturing and Services, Defence and Marine, Division). These meetings, which were held with our contacts in Scotland, Mersey Maritime, the South East, Humber, the North East (Port of Tyne and Tees Valley) and East Anglia were intended to help BEIS consider how they might align their advocacy of maritime related projects within government on a regional basis. A ‘Special Regional Council’ meeting was held in June to receive a briefing from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities around the opportunities presented for maritime RCOs and regions generally in relation to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Levelling Up Fund. Regions have identified the accessing of funding such as via these ‘pots’ as being of importance to them going forward, particularly where maritime themed bids aren’t always prioritised.

At the December meeting of the Maritime UK National Council, the first iteration of an ‘Annual Report’ into the Regional Cluster Development Programme which is a key part of the Regional Growth priority was launched. The report covers the following key elements: background and context to the programme; activity and deliverables over the period of the document; the work of the Maritime UK Regional Council; a summary of each existing cluster with a basic assessment of their status, key focus within the industry and work programmes; analysis of the economic impact of the maritime industry at a regional level and a forward look to the wider and future work of the programme. The document was launched with a news release and all material can be accessed here: News: Maritime Regional Cluster Development Programme Annual Report Launched | Maritime UK

Technology and Innovation have continued to be recognised as key drivers for sustainable growth within maritime.

The Maritime UK Technology and Innovation Group, led by Sheldon Ryan focussed on innovation that supports and enables the delivery of the Maritime 2050 strategy. Quarterly meetings create a forum to showcase the best of the UK innovation offer, including funding, support, and investment.

Introduced as a subgroup of the Technology and Innovation Group, the Maritime Hydrogen Fuels Group enable knowledge exchange and collaboration between those involved with developing maritime hydrogen, enabling cross-sector, cross-modal knowledge exchange and collaboration in maritime hydrogen works alongside that in other sectors. The group has seen rapid take up with membership currently at 60 members.

To support both these groups and the need for a dedicated dissemination channel, a new Maritime innovation newsletter and opportunities portal was launched.

The Department for Transport published its new maritime security strategy which sets out how the UK will enhance its capabilities in technology, innovation and cyber security.

Maritime UK also launched Version 6 of Industry Code of Practice for Maritime Autonomous Ship Systems. We also supported the Connected Places Catapult with the establishment of its Maritime Accelerator for SMEs and worked alongside the CPC and Knowledge Transfer Network to establish the Freeports Innovation Network.

This year, we have got much better at accessing new funding opportunities to help support sector innovation priorities. One such example is the award of £842,000 to Plymouth to lead on the testing of new marine technologies. Having regional clusters able to respond to such opportunities is invaluable and will form a growing part of the Maritime 2050 work programme next year.

Maritime UK is pleased to be championing a National Shipbuilding Strategy Task and Finish Group on Centres of Excellence, and this work is well and truly underway. There will be more information early next year about how colleagues can get involved and support the vision for a coordinated network of genuinely excellent collaborative centres to support the competitiveness of the UK’s maritime sector.

The Maritime UK-convened Exports and Investment Group has been working closely with the Department of International Trade’s Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO), commissioning some new research on key target markets identified by the group.

Throughout the year the MCCO continued to work with Maritime UK members within the MEIG to deliver a programme of international business development activity in the form of trade shows and missions. Since the MCCO’s inception in March of this year, we have seen around a 30% increase in export wins against the same period in 2019 before the COVID pandemic.

International engagement activity this year has included India, Korea, Greece, Turkey, Northern Europe and the US. Maritime UK is committed to supporting increased international promotional activities as we approach London International Shipping Week, DSEI and the Southampton Boat Show next Autumn.

Maritime UK is working closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the UK Shipping Concierge, and the UK Infrastructure Bank to implement the recommendations outlined by the Financial Products Working Group – co-chaired by Maritime London and the MCA. The successful implementation of these recommendations will allow the UK to maintain a competitive business environment and enable the development of financial products providing capital to initiatives bringing about decarbonisation across different industries within the maritime sector.

The progress being made toward Maritime 2050 is being delivered by individual companies and we are delighted by the number of companies stepping up to the plate to support the mission. Whilst we want to deepen engagement further in 2023, it is important to celebrate those that are already ‘leaning in’. In March, the 2022 Maritime UK Awards took place in Glasgow. The third national awards profile 42 finalists, across the 14 award categories, in a room full of key maritime leaders from across all parts of the sector. The 2022 awards were the most competitive to date, with over 200 entrants across the range of categories. Moving into 2023 we expect this trend to continue as we head to the maritime powerhouse of Hull.

We are also mindful of the need to connect colleagues from across the component maritime industries. A key benefit of belonging to a Maritime UK member association is the ability to connect and engage with those from other associations across maritime. Held for the first time in November, The Maritime Leaders Forum is a new and exciting collaboration between Trinity House and Maritime UK. It is designed to connect people across maritime, helping to break down silos. The first session heard from Citi’s Michael Parker ahead of the Clean Maritime Plan Refresh, with more sessions to follow in 2023.

At the end of the year Sarah Kenny will pass the baton as Maritime UK Chair to Robin Mortimer. Throughout her two years as chair, Sarah has been a fantastic champion for maritime and supporter for the Maritime UK team. We thank her for her efforts and wish her all the best for the future.

Special thanks to the Maritime UK team: Chrissie, Simon, Sheldon, Harvey, Steve, Janet, Giorgio and Jess. We’ll be saying goodbye to Chrissie and Harvey at the end of the year, and we thank them for their tremendous support for the Maritime UK mission.

Here’s to a wonderful Christmas break and we look forward to seeing colleagues in the new year.