March 2022

Maritime UK Regional Council
Regional Roundup – March 2022
Scottish Maritime Cluster (Brian Fulton)

  • Future funding (for 3 years) of the SMC has been secured with a sliding scale to a more commercially sustainable position after that time. Regional cluster development models are being considered and a membership recruitment drive is underway (number of members has doubled in 12 months).
  • Meeting pending with the new Scottish Government Maritime Minister to prioritise industry priorities and ensure strong liaison going forward.
  • Key themes being developed and prioritised include: high value manufacturing, decarbonisation (by 2045).
  • Blue Economy Action Plan (Scottish maritime strategy). Awaits publication and driving forward fully. SMC to feed into final version directly.
  • Net Zero Forum. This has been established and building momentum. 2/3 events will take place per year with a focus around energy.
  • Scottish Enterprise initiatives: (1) Decarbonisation – recent CMDC webinar showcase focused on ten projects in Scotland (10 of the 55 CMDC projects were Scotland based); (2) Monthly update meetings are scheduled and ongoing.
  • SMC webinars – 2x net zero have been held. Next will focus on nuclear opportunities which is a focus for the attention of a number of SMC businesses. Details will be made available to colleagues.
  • ‘Brown bag lunch’ initiatives (networking events). Most recent was focused on cyber-security for autonomous vessels with BMT Global as the lead. These events are to be held as frequently as members wish them / is practical.
  • Offer from Royal Navy to host an event around supply chain initiatives.
  • ‘Clyde Mission’ – SMC keen to work with partners to maximise opportunity to return major shipbuilding to the Clyde. Sub-committee to focus on this has been established.
  • Four member meetings per year are locked into the diary with the next due to take place at the end of March / early April.
  • Consideration is being given to an annual event, possibly in the Aberdeen/Oban area (possibly Shetland/Orkney) – intended to be outside the central belt of the country.
  • Monthly meetings scheduled between SMC, SMI, DIT, ADS and Scottish Engineering.
  • SMC to participate in Scottish Parliament cross-party group focused on maritime/shipbuilding.
  • Other cross-party groups established as follows: (1) Islands CPG; (2) Sustainability CPG (focus on active travel).
  • Working with the Consul General in Rio around a Brazil-focused trade mission opportunity with Scottish companies with an aim of encouraging business between both countries. To be held in Aberdeen, in-person.

Maritime UK Solent (Stuart Baker)

  • The Maritime UK Solent Business Plan has been agreed by the Board of the MUK Solent and subsequently by the Board of the Solent LEP, with the latter unlocking capacity funding for 2022/23.  The Mission of MUK Solent is to provide leadership for a thriving maritime sector in the Solent through activities that support growth, collaboration, and that showcase the Solent's maritime strengths and innovation on a national and international stage.
  • MUK Solent Board is composed of eight non-executive directors (5 industry, 2 from academia, and an MUK Director) and a Managing Director.  Stuart Baker is the MD, whilst Anne-Marie Mountifield is the Chair.
  • Mission and objectives are aligned with those of Maritime UK nationally.
  • Recent discovery of ‘Endurance’ – Ocean Infinity, a young innovative maritime business in the Solent, was involved in this historic mission. More:
  • Cebr report – nearing completion following engagement to ensure it captures the full breadth of the sector in the Solent.
  • Virtual breakfast meetings continue to receive strong attendance and attract very positive feedback. First post-Covid19 in-person event will be held in May with a presentation from the National Oceanographic Centre, and this will also include a visit from colleagues from the Turku region of Finland - a key Scandinavian maritime cluster.
Key future work:

Mersey Maritime (Simon Eardley)

  • Appointment of Matt Fulton to the Mersey Maritime team (from January 2022) as Chief Innovation Officer. Matt is leading on all innovation related activity for Mersey Maritime, with the cluster funding this role entirely. His focus is:

o The delivery of five ‘cornerstone’ regional projects of national significance.

o Advising and supporting members around the development of innovation projects.

o Maximising and capitalising on both private and public innovation funding opportunities, including from central government.

o Representing Mersey Maritime on the national Maritime UK Technology and Innovation Group.

o Developing thought leadership around maritime innovation in the North West ecosystem.

o Leading the Mersey Maritime Technology and Innovation Forum.

  • Preparations are underway for the fourth Mersey Maritime Exchange conference which will be held on 23 June 2022, in-person in Liverpool. Format is likely to be a further update around progress re. delivery of Maritime 2050. All regions will be invited to attend too and are encouraged to do so.
  • The 8th (and 20th year anniversary) Mersey Maritime Industry Awards are likely to take place in early/mid October 2022 – more details to follow.
  • Our regular schedule of ‘Face-2-Face’ events have continued with the following since the start of the year:
o January 2022 – Ørsted

o February 2022 – National Oceanographic Centre

o March 2022 – Bibby Marine

  • Other significant events have included:

o Marketing workshop led by our Senior Marketing and Events Executive, Emma Wilson, 20 January 2022.

o Mersey Maritime Policy Forum with Rod Paterson, National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh update, 26 January 2022.

o UniCourse marine engineering qualification workshop, 28 February 2022.

o Hybrid working roundtable with our partners Kays Medical, 03 March 2022.

  • In-person activities are beginning to return to normal attendance amongst members now rising to pre-Covid19 levels. Our preferred format for all events is now in-person for major networking opportunities.
  • Bishops’ visit. We were delighted to host the Rt Revd Julie Conalty, Bishop of Birkenhead and Rt Revd Sam Corley, Bishop of Stockport for a maritime briefing session at the Maritime Knowledge Hub. This was followed by an organised tour of Cammell Laird with a briefing on the RRS Sir David Attenborough project and introduction to the Wirral Waters scheme (02 February).
  • Partnering with many of our members and Maritime UK we participated in the Liverpool City Region Skills Show at the Exhibition Centre on 01 and 02 March 2022. This saw up to 5,000 students visit the exhibition and adult job seekers the day before.
  • State of the Liverpool City Region Report (Centre for Economics and Business Research). Further engagement with Cebr around the emerging findings for the LCR took place on 02 February 2002 with a number of key members and partners. Initial headlines are encouraging and see an uplift in all direct impacts across all sectors of the industry over this two-year period since the last report. Some clarifications are currently being sought in respect of anomalies which need to be ironed out before the final report is signed-off. This is anticipated imminently.
  • Mersey Maritime continues to play a full part in a new ERDF programme to support innovation in the region. There are three strands to this project which is being delivered by the University of Liverpool (research projects), the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Rainmaking Innovation. Mersey Maritime’s role continues to be to offer wrap-around support and deliver key events such as ‘meet the buyer’ roundtables.
  • Mersey Maritime’s work on the regional cluster development programme continues apace. Key work during this quarter has included:

o A comprehensive update to DfT colleagues on 05/01/22 which detailed activity over the previous quarter. Arising out of this has been a collaboration / event opportunity which is being put together to take place in Leeds later in the spring which will have a focus on the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ / cluster opportunities and challenges across this part of the country. We hope to deliver this event in partnership with THMA and potentially North East cluster development partners.

o Engagement with potential cluster partners in the North East (Port of Middlesbrough), with whom we have a follow-up workshop in late March.

o Facilitating BEIS engagement meetings across numerous regions, which have concluded on 10 March 2022 with the final sessions in Humber and Port of Tyne.

o Engagement with the Centre for Social Justice around potential future working and policy / event collaboration.

  • Key media promotions and thought-piece activity over this quarter has included:

o Importance of building the new cruise terminal in Liverpool (this was also accompanied by an appearance by CSR on BBC Radio Merseyside): WE MUST BUILD A NEW CRUISE TERMINAL - Mersey Maritime


o Comment on the publication of the Government’s Levelling-Up White Paper: MERSEY MARITIME'S RESPONSE TO THE LEVELLING-UP WHITE PAPER - Mersey Maritime

o Launch of Innovating Maritime Project: MERSEY MARITIME LAUNCHES 'INNOVATING MARITIME' PROJECT - Mersey Maritime

o Start of 2022 blog article from CSR: BLOG FROM CEO, CHRIS SHIRLING ROOKE - Mersey Maritime

  • Mersey Maritime website. This has has now been relaunched after several months of intense work. Whilst it remains work in progress, the new format and layout is a considerable improvement on what went before. The website can be viewed here: MARITIME HOME - Mersey Maritime
  • Connected Places Catapult project. Mersey Maritime has been asked to support a project in the Liverpool City Region working with the Connected Places Catapult to produce an early feasibility study on green water transport on the Mersey. It is a 12-week project being delivered by ourselves and Royal HaskoningDHV. The aim of the project is to take a fresh look at opportunities for sustainable, integrated and river centric user journeys and the ecosystem of supporting technologies that could help to unlock their potential for the Liverpool City Region. The project will explore three specific river centric user groups – Freight, Passenger and Tourist. We will host a number of workshops with key stakeholders to better understand and validate each of the three user journeys; the potential benefits, drawbacks, opportunities and potential barriers. Workshops are planned around the following themes (all to take place in mid-March): Freight, Passengers and Tourism.
  • MUK Building Back Better Regional Growth Webinar. Chris Shirling-Rooke chaired this event which took place on 22 February 2022. The event was sponsored by the UKMPG and included contributions from Cabinet Office officials, Richard Ballantyne of the British Ports Association, Tim Morris of the UKMPG, Anne-Marie Mountifield (Solent LEP) and Emily Cunningham of the LGA Coastal SIG.
  • Our Digital Marketing and Events Apprentice, Abbie Milne, is a finalist in the Maritime UK National Awards on 10 March 2022 in the Apprentice of the Year category. We are immensely proud of her achievement and the considerable impact she continues to have on our business activity.

Maritime UK South West, including Cornwall Marine Network (Sheldon Ryan & Paul Wickes)

  • Full presence as part of the SW autonomy cluster at Oceanology International, w/c 14/03/22.
  • Prospectus has been pulled together for the SW Innovation Service which is intended to be delivered via the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
  • South Devon – new marine academy to launch late March.
  • Clean maritime consortium – currently being pulled together.
  • Engagement with fishing industry colleagues in Scotland around decarbonisation of the fishing fleet.
  • Marine autonomy – Smart Sound Connect 5G test.
  • Offshore renewables (Celtic Sea) – study to be launched imminently re. offshore floating wind.
  • 13 May 2022 – supply chain engagement event planned.
  • Pulling a series of supply chain events together around tidal energy.

Cornwall Marine Network

  • Reintroducing modest membership fee (£100 p.a. + VAT) – had been cancelled during Covid-19.
  • CMN recruitment company to be launched – focused around the specific recruitment challenges that SMEs face and in the context of spike in market place leavers. Model will be fixed fee.
  • CMN training activity is now getting back to pre-Covid levels.
  • CMN £3,000 apprenticeship grant in place and offered to member businesses.
  • Blue health mental resilience programme, community focused, has been launched to support Port communities.
  • BEIS engagement meeting around CMN offer / wider regional priorities held in early 2022.
  • Cornwall Council and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP engagement with Ben Murray around Coastal Powerhouse agenda.
  • Maritime Skills Commission – green skills qualification development (£650,000 project over 2 years).

Belfast Maritime Consortium (David Tyler)

  • Cebr report. Working closely with Invest NI to finalise imminently. Looking to announce once the Assembly elections are complete in May (mid/emd). 
  • Collaborations and partnerships within our cluster strengthen all the time:

o eFoiler electric drivetrain testing at Queen’s University Belfast wave tank

o Create Composites, automotive composites manufacture, manufacturing first marine parts

o Spirit AeroSystems Non-destructive Evaluation of marine parts.

South East (Simon Barnes, University of Kent & Alexander Riley (South East LEP)

Simon Barnes

  • CMDC – end of work nearing between Port of Dover and P&O Ferries. Emerging theme – increase in electricity demand is substantial – how does this happen practically? Could be a follow-on piece of work.
  • Dover/Calais/Dunkirk Consortium. Development of a ‘Green Transport Corridor’ programme on a collaborative basis.
  • BEIS engagement was undertaken in February.  Key theme: fuel scale technology opportunities.
  • Engagement with the Home Office around digital ports / borders infrastructure.
  • Connected Places Catapult. TRIG competition for clean maritime. Shortage of test facilities for new technologies has been identified. Audit of universities and what facilities are available with the intention of producing a public list for across the UK.
  • Hydrogen highway work with the Port of London Authority.
  • Thames 2050 consultation underway:
  • University of Kent investment (£1m) in a professorship of coastal/rural health – link with Coastal Powerhouse themes re. health outcomes in coastal communities.

Alexander Riley

  • Assessing likely impact of the Levelling-up White Paper on the role of LEPs / potential devolution at county level and major governance change this will result in.
  • Freeport activity. Thames – full business case has been submitted. East – about to submit their full business case. SELEP are on the board. Focus is on clean energy, green hydrogen opportunities. Anchor tenants will be focused on energy innovation.
  • Coastal Communities Working Group – made up of 15 local authorities, considering how the Shared Prosperity Fund might be utilised at a district level.

North East (Nikki Sayer, Casper Shipping & Ian Blake, Port of Tyne)

Nikki Sayer

  • Engagement between Tees Valley Port Users Association and regional cluster development team has taken place. Follow-up workshop is scheduled to take place in late March. It may be that TVPUA, with 82 members already, emerges as a new RCO in the Maritime UK understanding.

Ian Blake

Strong start to 2022 for Port of Tyne:

  • Dogger Bank Wind Farm continues to progress well; expects to go live in early 2023. Updates here:
  • New Marine Director appointed, Ashley Nicholson. Details:
  • Strong alignment with Maritime 2050 strategy, particularly in respect of innovation. Decarbonisation – Phd student undertaking research on clean energy test beds. Other work focusing on net zero quayside operations and EV infrastructure.
  • Key projects: smart lighting, battery power storage, nuclear feasibility study
  • Plans for a comprehensive ‘Maritime Innovation Week’ are being formulated (likely held in June - TBC) with a focus on decarbonisation, digital innovation, digital, smart ports / smart maritime.
  • Participating in the shore power call for evidence.