Speech: 'Keeping London and the UK at the forefront of the global maritime sector'

Remarks by Maritime UK Chairman, David Dingle,at the launch of London International Shipping Week 2019

As the overarching industry association, Maritime UK is thrilled at the ongoing success of London International Shipping Week and recognises the substantial role it plays in keeping London and the UK as a whole in the forefront of the global maritime sector.  Having participated in the first three Shipping Weeks, I am now looking forward to even bigger and yet more successful fourth event in a year’s time.

Looking today at the world’s most successful maritime hubs, they have one thing in common – an imaginative and ambitious partnership between industry and government.  And the United Kingdom is no exception.  Here, the relationship and collaboration between HM Government and Britain’s maritime sector has never been closer, and our sponsoring ministry, the Department for Transport, is to be congratulated on the focus which it gives us and the fine job it does in whipping up support for Maritime right across Government.  Equally worthy of congratulation, and he’s heard it many times before, is my esteemed colleague Lord Mountevans, whose Maritime Growth Study raised the industry/government relationship to a completed new level. 

Government has now got the bit firmly between its teeth.  We have recently received the green light for SMarT Plus, providing increased Government funding for cadet training – a highly symbolic move forward. DfT has now launched Maritime 2050, an ambitious long-range strategy to address the scenarios which we foresee for our industry in thirty years’ time, aiming to ensure that we are a global and technological leader.  DfT is also working with BEIS and Maritime UK to deliver the maritime industrial sector deal.  DIT and Maritime UK are working together to deliver the country’s first maritime export strategy, whilst Treasury helping us to attract more shipping into the UK through tonnage tax enhancement and to resurrect ship financing in this country.  Together, industry and Government are doing a great deal together, and it is therefore no surprise that our collaboration sits at the heart of London International Shipping Week.  We are very proud of this relationship and grateful for the Government’s major contribution to the success of LISW.

A fundamental objective of Maritime UK has been to ensure that it embraces the whole of the country.  Whilst London has traditionally been the home of much of British shipowning, and is the unquestionable hub of its maritime services, our ports, our marine manufacturers and our marine leisure industries are distributed throughout the country, often in coastal clusters. 

Today’s shipowners, too, are much more widely dispersed and our professional services are increasingly developing regional locations.  At the 2017 London International Shipping Week, we gave voice to our thriving regional maritime activities and next year we will give them yet more focus.  Our regions are the sharp end of our industry – they are where the goods move, where the ships and their components are made and where our academic institutions work with us to create and deliver the innovative hi-tech solutions which this country needs to remain a top global maritime player.  Rightly, LISW is a combined celebration – a celebration of the high global standing of our capital and also a celebration of the flourishing and fast-growing maritime centres across the whole of the United Kingdom.

In case it had slipped your minds, by the time of the 2019 London International Shipping Week, we will be well on our way to a post Brexit world.  Whilst we still have a limited picture of what that will look like and in particular how we will in future trade with the European Union, we can with some optimism look forward to greater volumes of trade in both goods and services with other parts of the world.  The maritime sector already beats the UK average of 52% of exports going outside of the EU, making us already a much more global industry than many others. 

So we look forward in shipping, maritime services and marine manufacturing to yet greater opportunities across the world, and at the same time to our ports benefitting from greater trade volumes in both directions.  From the start, London International Shipping Week has reflected the global footprint of our maritime sector and has reached out across the world. So I am looking forward enormously to the 2019 event being our most global one yet, reaffirming London’s and Britain’s place as the great global maritime centre which it always has been and will remain so for a very long time indeed.

London International Shipping Week