UK Government Responds to Maritime Growth Study
The United Kingdom is recognized as a world-leading maritime center. But can the country maintain that status in the face of a fast-growing competition?
That was the subject of a report undertaken by the UK Department of Transport and published in September. Now, the government has issues a response to the report a few days ago.
The report noted that the UK maritime industry have contributed significantly to the country’s economy thanks to “a highly advanced, world-class maritime cluster spread across the nation that attracts investment and exports services worldwide.” The sector’s economic contribution is at least $16 billion, supporting at least 113,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses.
“The UK is truly a one-stop-shop for the global maritime market,” said the report, adding “that there is still much more that it can achieve.”
Other maritime centers in Europe and the Far East are experiencing rapid growth and seeking to replicate the UK’s success. “Government and industry must therefore work together to reinforce the UK’s role in the global market and put our nation in the best possible position to exploit the expected doubling in world sea trade by 2030,” the report concluded. “A successful maritime sector will support the government’s commitment to enhancing domestic productivity, rebalancing the UK economy, increasing exports and raising our global status.”
The government’s response to the report contends that “significant progress is already being made.” “A new ministerial working group for maritime growth has been established to drive growth and tackle issues impacting the sector,” the response said. “Officials will shortly begin the process of updating the government’s assessment of the seafarer requirement in the UK maritime sector so we have the most up-to-date picture of supply and demand. This will ultimately inform the chair’s recommended review of our support for maritime training scheme to ensure it remains fit for purpose.”
A key focus of the transport study was the role played by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) administered UK Ship Register. The register has now seen nearly 12 months of modest, but continuous growth in gross tonnage.
“However, we will not be complacent about this success,” said the government’s response. A new appointment to the position of director of the UK Ship Register “will begin the process of making the Register more independent from the MCA’s regulatory functions. These improvements are being implemented against the backdrop of longer term work by the department exploring the scope for more significant reform of relevant MCA services, in particular the UK Ship Register.”
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