Value of the maritime sector


Maritime UK commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research to estimate the value of the UK maritime sector.

The Cebr findings were formally launched in Parliament on Wednesday 13 September 2017 by Maritime Minister, Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Chair of International Trade select committee, Angus MacNeil MP, former Maritime Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Maritime UK Chairman David Dingle. 


  • The Maritime sector makes a substantive macroeconomic contribution to the UK through turnover, Gross Value Added (GVA), employment and through the compensation of employees. It is estimated that the sector directly supported just over £40 billion in business turnover, £14.5 billion in GVA and 185,700 jobs for UK employees in 2015. The marine and shipping industries are the largest constituent industries terms of economic activity, contributing £6.5 billion and £4.3 billion in GVA respectively, and directly supporting around 99,500 jobs and 50,800 jobs respectively in 2015. 
  • The substantial direct economic contribution of the Maritime sector exceeds those of other comparable industries. For example, the sectors direct turnover contribution of just over £40 billion compares to £31.1 billion from the entire Aerospace industry in 2015; similarly, the sectors direct GVA contribution of £14.5 billion compares favourably to £10.0 billion from the Aerospace industry.  
  • The direct contribution of the Maritime sector through turnover, GVA and employment has increased since 2010, when turnover, GVA and employment are estimated to have been £35.5 billion, £13.6 billion and 178,800 jobs respectively. Average productivity in the Maritime sector – as measured through the GVA generated by each job – exceeds that of the national average. Average productivity in each maritime industry also exceeded the national average in each year from 2010 to 2015. 
  • The Maritime sector also helped to raise billions of pounds each year to the UK Exchequer and made a sizeable contribution to UK trade through exports of goods and services. The sector contributed an estimated total of just under £4.7 billion in tax revenues in 2015, or 0.7% of total UK tax revenues, spread across Income Tax, NICs, VAT, Corporation Tax and Business Rates. The Maritime sector exported £12 billion of goods and services in 2015, or around 2.3% of the UK total. 
  • After quantifying the indirect economic impacts through the industry supply chains and induced effects on expenditures, it is estimated that the Maritime sector helped to support a total of £37.4 billion of GVA in 2015. This implies that, for every £1 in GVA directly contributed on average by the sector, a further £2.59 in GVA was generated across the UK economy. 
  • These aggregate economic impacts associated with the Maritime sector also extend to turnover, employment and the compensation of employees. It is estimated that the Maritime sector helped to support a total of £91.9 billion in turnover, 957,300 jobs and £21.0 billion through the compensation of employees in 2015. 
  • While the economic contribution of the industry is spread across all UK regions, London contributes the most to GVA and employment, both directly and more widely. In 2015, it is estimated that the industry in London directly contributed £4.3 billion of GVA (29% of the industry) and 35,800 jobs (19%). After indirect and induced effects are considered, the aggregate contribution from London rises to £8.9 billion of GVA (26%) and 236,000 jobs (28%). 

Comment on relationship to previous studies

Cebr was eager to produce a consistent set of estimates across a six-year period. This revealed differences between Cebr's estimates for the back years and those previously produced by Oxford Economics. Marine has also been included for the first time, which has impacted other industries due to shared activities. The industry figures making up the broad Maritime sector are however not always additive because some of the reports have been customised to cater for the overlap between certain industries. Simply adding together the industries would therefore produce a degree of double counting. The broad Maritime sector report has had this double counting stripped out. Cebr believes fundamentally in the thoroughness and robustness of its approach and, as such, we stand by our own unbiased and fresh examination of the role of the Maritime sector and its constituent industries in the UK.