The UK sits in the front rank of global maritime nations. Since my appointment as Minister for Maritime, I have experienced at first hand the full range and impact of the UK’s maritime sector. I am proud that we have one of the most vibrant and competitive maritime sectors in the world.
Over the past year, the Government has signalled its intention to be more ambitious in both leading and supporting the maritime sector. We are delivering a step change in our activity and effectiveness. I want us to have a shared sense of what we are trying to achieve.
We should be confidently global in our approach. London International Shipping Week 2017, one of the premier worldwide maritime events, was a tremendous success. Thousands of delegates attended, including many senior industry figures and politicians, helping to build closer business links around the world. I am confident that LISW 2019 will further reinforce London’s position as the global centre for maritime business. More recently, here at the IMO in London, the global shipping industry agreed for the first time to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. The UK Government played a leading role, and we will capitalise on the momentum in the months ahead.
We must continue to stand up for standards. Our Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, and General Lighthouse Authorities are world leading. We are raising the bar on our workforce, increasing funding for maritime training as a sign of our commitment to maritime skills and extending new rights to workers at sea. We have been a driving force behind the Women in Maritime Taskforce. I was delighted to launch recently the Women in Maritime Pledge, the first step to encouraging the sector to increase the number of women in maritime careers.
We have to plan for the long term. We launched the Port Connectivity Study, a vital first step in ensuring our ports stand up to the very best international comparisons long into the future. And our forthcoming long-range strategy, Maritime 2050, is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our ambition to be a world maritime leader and position the UK to meet the challenges ahead. Underpinning this all, we need industry and government to work closely together. UK maritime industry is dynamic, efficient and attracts major investment – this is a sector that needs partnership, not support.
The Maritime Growth Study created a new way of joint working that is now embedded into everything we do. I would like to thank industry for their sustained efforts in helping government to advance our common cause. Taken together, this is an ambitious but achievable set of aspirations. And it is why I am optimistic about maritime, and why I am delighted to launch the Government’s Maritime Annual Review. I look forward to working with you over the year ahead.
Click to read the 32 page report in full: Maritime Annual Report 2018