News: Maritime UK welcomes National Shipbuilding Strategy

Maritime UK has welcomed today's National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) as a “major turning point” for the industry, helping put the sector on track to be the world's most competitive maritime nation by 2050.

Announced by the Prime Minister in Merseyside, the NSS contains plans to boost the competitiveness and productivity of UK shipbuilding, which the Prime Minister has identified as one of his major policy priorities.

This includes more than £200m funding for green maritime projects through a new UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, a new government team to open up exporting opportunities worth up to £600 million, and establishing a taskforce to drive new skills and talent into the industry.

The NSS also includes a 30-year, cross-government shipbuilding pipeline of more than 150 new vessels, to provide certainty for yards, and re-introduces the Home Shipbuilding Guarantee Scheme (HSGS), giving firms a government-backed guarantee for loan repayments to reduce financing costs.

According to research by First Marine International, the HSGC could boost orders to UK yards from £60m to more than £400m per annum, an increase of more than 660%.

This forms part of a £4 billion government investment overall over the next three years.

Ben Murray, chief executive of Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the industry, said: 

“Today’s refreshed strategy marks a major turning point for UK shipbuilding and the maritime sector as a whole.

“Its investment in green technology, broader scope covering commercial and leisure vessels, dedicated support to boost exports and focus on skills and government-industry collaboration, marks a key step on our journey to becoming the world’s most competitive maritime nation by 2050.

“As an island nation, maritime is central to the UK’s success, from levelling up our coastal communities by creating new skilled jobs, to delivering net zero by creating tomorrow’s Teslas of the seas, and promoting Global Britain, with 95% of our trade moved by sea. We will continue to work closely with government to make sure all these ambitions are met.”

Tom Chant, chief executive of the Society of Maritime Industries which represents engineering firms in the sector, said:

“This long-awaited shipbuilding strategy embraces our country’s shipbuilding enterprise, and will provide a new confidence across the industry.

“Higher levels of investment will likely follow, driving up our productivity and bolstering our workforces with new skills and talent.

“The strengthening of our wider commercial maritime industry marks a very important step, protecting our sovereign capability for the design, build and integration of complex naval vessels.

“We look forward to working with government to bring the strategy’s recommendations forward, creating a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding industry.”

Lesley Robinson, chief executive of British Marine, the trade association for UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry, added: 

“British Marine welcomes the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and we look forward to supporting Government in their ambitions to boost competitiveness and productivity and reaffirm the UK’s position as a global leader in shipbuilding.

“Some of the world’s most famous brands in leisure boat building are based and manufactured right here in the UK, and with the new opportunities to develop trading relationships with the rest of the world, this strategy will set us on the right course to become a leader in green shipping, drive new skills across the sector and nurture future talent, critical to the future of the industry.”

The NSS includes the launch of UK-SHORE, a new dedicated unit within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector.

The unit will expand the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), government-funded research and development competition, to a multi-year programme.

The CMDC’s first instalment, last year, saw funding for projects such as the world’s first green submarine, and was vastly oversubscribed with bids for 225% of the available budget.

A new Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO) has also been launched by the Department of Trade, targeting export opportunities worth up to £600 million over next five years, with global maritime trade levels expected to treble by 2050.

And the Department for Education also launches a UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce to work collaboratively across government, devolved administrations, and industry, to drive the new skills and talent required to transition to net zero and lead the world in maritime technology.

The UK’s maritime industry contributes £46.1bn to the UK economy, more than air and rail combined; moves 95% of British trade, transporting 25% of the UK’s energy supply and 48% of its food; and supports more than one million jobs across the country.


The £4 billion investment figure includes:

  • Over £4 billion for new vessels, including the Royal Navy Pipeline, was announced in the 2020 Spending Review and the 2021 Autumn Budget
  • £206 million for UK SHORE
  • £11 million of new funding for the Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO)
  • An initial £2 million of new funding to set up the Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme (HSCGS), with additional investment - for underwriting the finance of vessel contracts - to be confirmed in due course