July 2021

Liverpool City Region (Mersey Maritime)

  • Staff team have now returned to a regular working schedule within the office and Mersey Maritime organised events are operating as hybrid activities with increasing in-person attendance, with Covid-19 safety measures firmly in place.
  • Major focus for the last quarter has been the build-up and delivery of the third Mersey Maritime Exchange Conference which took place on Friday 25th June at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead. The event was delivered in partnership with the Department for Transport and Maritime UK and focused around an update on progress in the delivery of Maritime 2050, coinciding with a report launched which summarises progress, available here: https://www.maritimeuk.org/media-centre/news/news-maritime-uk-publishes-maritime-2050-progress-report/
  • Maritime Exchange summary article available here: https://merseymaritime.co.uk/news/third-mersey-maritime-exchange-conference-is-biggest-yet/
  • Maritime Exchange full video available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm3rbFtt130 
  • Focus has now turned to delivery of the Mersey Maritime Industry Awards which will take place on 17 September 2021. The application process closed on 01 July and judging took place on 05 July. The seventh iteration of these awards includes two Maritime UK categories this year, Apprentice Employer of the Year and Apprentice of the Year. A full list of finalists is available here: https://merseymaritime.co.uk/news/breaking-news-finalists-announced-for-the-seventh-mersey-maritime-industry-awards-mmia21/
  • It remains the intention of Mersey Maritime to host a ‘Northern Coastal Powerhouse’ seminar on the morning of 17 September as an LISW event in the regions. Work is underway to secure the support of a ‘triangle’ of Freeports in the North of England for a focused deep dive on coastal communities as relevant to this part of the UK and will include representation from the Humber, Teesside, the Liverpool City Region and possibly East Midlands Airport.
  • Monthly and weekly events and other activities continue to focus on specialist forums (Technology and Innovation; Policy Forum) and ‘Face-2-Face’ networking with Sarah Kenny, Atlantic Container Line and Briggs Marine featuring in May, June and July respectively. A round-up of regional maritime news continues to be published by Mersey Maritime every month as an ‘Ezine’ and currently attracts 3,000+ readers. The latest edition is available here: https://merseymaritime.co.uk/news/june-ezine/

Scotland (Scottish Maritime Cluster)

  • SMC Executive team have engaged with SMC members in recent months for in-depth review sessions which have proven valuable and have resulted in clear direction on future events and opportunities for better collaboration within the sector.
  • The most recent SMC members’ meetings were held with Damien Bloor, First Marine International (FMI) Advisory Group Director and Lorna Wagner, Programme Manager Maritime UK Careers, amongst others presenting.
  • The SMC will be hosting a reception at London International Shipping Week in conjunction with the Scotland Office, Dover House, on Monday 13 September 2021 at 1800.
  • SMC are currently looking at ways for members to contribute to COP26 when it is held in Glasgow in the Autumn, including in support of the International Maritime Hub being co-ordinated by Maritime UK and City of Glasgow College.
  • Engagement is underway with Sheldon Ryan around innovation mapping and the team are pursuing members to ensure the directory is as well populated as possible.
  • Key topical issues from recent engagement sessions: "The prospects for delivery of net zero, not just in maritime but across other sectors – how do we realistically achieve the overall vision?" and "Blue economy cluster building. SMC engaging with a range of colleagues with an interest in this agenda and looking to be supportive of projects to facilitate going forward."
  • Transport Scotland have agreed to support the economic impact report being co-ordinated by Maritime UK through the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).

The Humber (Team Humber Marine Alliance)

  • The region has enthusiastically welcomed the announcement that it will enjoy Freeport status following the March 2021 news from HM Government. THMA is keen to learn from other regional cluster organisations and partners in terms of their engagement with Freeport lead partners. 
  • South Humber Bank development work continues, now with a focus around port infrastructure improvements and the quayside. This is part of the wider £42 million regeneration project with Able Marine Energy Park.
  • Major work is now well underway to deliver the Hornsea Two Offshore Wind Farm. The wind farm itself is located off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea, approximately 55 miles and adjacent to Hornsea One (the world’s largest offshore wind farm).
  • THMA are in the early stages of discussion with Grimsby Renewables Partnership which may see the merging of the two organisations. It is considered that this will boost both organisations in terms of deepening the depth and strength of representation they are able to offer the sector. Focus for both is on mutual areas of interest, including the blue economy (marine, skills, training, etc) and the low carbon economy.
  • THMA’s Offshore Wind Connections Conference (held virtually earlier this year – very successfully) saw major announcements and updates from a range of partners including the Southern North Sea Energy Alliance Cluster. The 2022 conference has already been scheduled for 27/28 April. Details around the 2021 event can be found here: http://www.offshorewindconnections.com/
  • THMA held its first social event, face-to-face with members in June at Windy Millers in Hull. A very successful event, underlining a considerable desire on the part of members to return to more in-person activity as the pandemic eases!

Northern Ireland (Belfast Maritime Consortium)

  • New apprenticeship scheme launched on 02 July 2021 in collaboration with Belfast Metropolitan College. Focus on advanced manufacturing skills for marine technology, decarbonisation skills with twelve positions offered. A major delivery element of the Strength in Places bid and will be in position from 06 September. More details here: http://www.artemistechnologies.co.uk/en/technologies/news/40_Artemis-Technologies-and-Belfast-Met-launch-Apprenticeship
  • Working on plans to widen out the work of and building up of the cluster via the consortium partnerships and will seek engagement with the Regional Cluster Development Programme team to further this work.
  • Invest Northern Ireland have agreed to support the economic impact report being co-ordinated by Maritime UK through the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).
  • Team are participating in the Belfast Maritime Festival, 04/05 September 2021.
  • Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition – a range of partners are engaging with some projects, including across the UK collaboration.
  • Challenges: recruitment and talent remain an issue, including in the context of post-Brexit impact (visas for specialist personnel in marine design and engineering in particular). Recruitment is behind schedule and starting to affect various project timelines. (Cf. similar experience from colleagues at Team Humber Marine Alliance around the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and working patterns / availability of skilled personnel in the region.)

South East of England (South East LEP)

  • SELEP are not currently a formal regional cluster organisation but remain keen to continue to engage as maritime is an important sector for the region. Discussions are planned with the Regional Cluster Development Team in July to determine how to play a role in engaging with Maritime UK and supporting the sector. (The most recent meeting postponed from June owing to unforeseen circumstances.)
  • Maritime has a key section in the SELEP ‘renewal and recovery strategy’, together with clean growth opportunities.
  • LEP review by central government may result in a shift of focus for LEP activity, including more around clustering.
  • Two Freeport bids were successful within the SELEP area (Thames and Freeport East), and the LEP will be part of the board process in both instances.

South West of England (Maritime UK South West)

  • The South West has recently enjoyed the profile afforded by the recent G7 Summit in Cornwall. This included the launch of a short film: ‘Port of Falmouth: Blue and Green Technology leading Cornwall’s Coastal Revolution’ to highlight the ongoing achievements of marine businesses in the area. An invited VIP audience event was held on RFA Argus, moored in Falmouth. More information available here: https://cornwallmarine.net/news/landmark-marine-film-unveiled-as-the-global-spotlight-shines-on-cornwall
  • Freeport activity is ongoing – business plans continue to be worked on.
  • Clean Maritime Summit event held on 18 June 2021, opened by Robert Courts MP. Clear demonstration of a desire for businesses to collaborate around clean maritime opportunities. More information here: https://maritimeuksw.org/clean-maritime-summit-sets-out-plan-for-a-net-zero-ocean-economy-in-the-south-west/
  • Three bids have been submitted from the south west region to the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.
  • A bid submitted to create a South West wide Marine Innovation Service: Currently there are two with only county wide coverage - Marine-I and Business Technology Centre.
  • Various other key events taking place, including Marine Expo (virtual) and tidal energy supply chain event.
  • MUK SW – newsletter reach is now over 2,500.
  • Cornwall Marine Network – UK government continue to indicate that EU funding resource will be honoured in the UK until 2023. Milestone of 4,000 jobs created since CMN was founded has recently been hit (16 years of operation). Training opportunities, delivered by CMN, across the South West are now beginning to be rolled out. Importance of capacity building and development funding for the overall skills agenda will be critical going forward, particularly post-2023.

Solent (Maritime UK Solent)

  • Freeport work has been a major focus over recent months both prior to the March 2021 announcement and since, with the establishment of Solent Freeport Consortium Ltd. Outline business case will be submitted by the end of July, with assistance from KPMG and Lichfields.
  • Solent LEP Executive will provide executive support to the Solent Freeport Consortium Ltd board, on an interim basis until at least November 2021.
  • Plans to develop Maritime UK Solent itself have been interrupted by Covid-19. Stuart Baker is to take a lead with future planning, as another key element of his ongoing role. Key aims will continue to be: Promote the value of the Solent as a leading maritime cluster within the UK and globally; Convene the MUK Solent network; Promote ongoing business networking and engagement.
  • Engaging with the Department for International Trade around their ongoing interest in the work of LEPs and in particular value propositions for businesses in the region.
  • Supporting the Solent University Institute of Technology bid, with a focus on maritime. Pipeline of talent regarding maritime skills has been identified.