IIMS is delighted at the news that Kelly Tolhurst, an Institute member for ten years when a practicing marine surveyor, was appointed as the new UK Maritime Minister on 13 February 2020. Kelly who has been the Conservative member of parliament (MP) for Rochester and Strood since 2015, relinquished her membership only last year. She takes up this key role at an interesting time with the huge political upheaval currently underway in the UK post Brexit and IIMS would like to congratulate Kelly and wish her much success in her new role.
Prior to being appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Kelly Tolhurst was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 19 July 2018.
As well as her new maritime role, Kelly also has a brief to work on aviation, security, civil contingencies and shadow roads. Her remit specifically includes work on freeports, which UK port organisations have welcomed. The UK Government this month published a new consultation on the introduction of freeports, which have a “free zone” through which certain goods can be transhipped or processed without attracting customs duties.
“Now is a pivotal time to take on the brief of maritime minister, with the current consultation on Freeports,” said Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association.
“Post-Brexit trade-facilitation is also high on the agenda, as well as sustainability and port connectivity.”
Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group, which represents the nation’s biggest facilities, said it was “great to see someone with a maritime background taking on the role”.
Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK, welcomed Kelly Tolhurst to her new role. he said, “As somebody who has run her own maritime business, we look forward to working closely with Kelly and the department to maintain and strengthen the UK’s position as a leading maritime nation.”