UK Government urged to get its slice of the valuable maritime sector

Red Ship in PortFollowing the election of the new Conservative Government in the UK, Nautilus has welcomed new research showing that the maritime sector is worth almost £10bn a year to the UK economy.

A report from Oxford Economics values the combined direct contribution of the UK maritime services sector – including the shipping, ports and business services industries – to have been £9.9bn in 2013.

The sector directly employed a total of 239,200 people in 2013 and the combined direct contribution of maritime industries to the exchequer was £2.5bn.

But the study also warns of a worrying decline in UK shipping industry performance between 2011 and 2013, with its contribution to GDP falling from £5.6bn to £3bn, and direct employment down by nearly 20,000 jobs. The overall direct contribution of the ports, shipping and maritime business services industries to GDP, fell by nearly £4bn over the same period.

Nautilus general secretary, Mark Dickinson, said the findings should serve as a ‘timely reminder’ for the new UK government of the importance of the maritime sector. ‘We look forward to working with the industry and the new shipping minister to ensure that the UK continues to support and enhance our industry,’ he added.

‘Crucially, however, that strategic objective requires recognition of the importance of British seafarers and firm action to address the critical skills shortages, along with a commitment to ensure secure and rewarding employment for those British seafarers currently working in our industry.

‘I look forward to the outcome of the Maritime Growth Study for details of the government’s plans to support British shipping and expand maritime training and employment.’

Maritime UK chairman Alderman The Lord Mountevans urged the government to give ‘careful consideration’ to the report’s findings’ ‘If strong and decisive action is not taken, then there is a great risk that a massive opportunity for economic growth could be lost,’ he added.

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