UK plans to be 'leading maritime nation for next 30 years'

29 January 2019

Cleaning up shipping emissions is one of the key goals in the UK government’s Maritime 2050 strategy.

The Maritime 2050 strategy outlines a range of short, medium and long-term proposals, including establishing an innovation hub at a UK port by 2030, looking at ways to clean up emissions and building on the world-class seafarer training.

“As critical maritime and logistics infrastructure, ports will form part of an advanced and integrated supply chain by 2050,” said the report.

It said that by pioneering new business models and realising the benefits of new digital and automated processes, ports can maximise throughput of goods with seamless onward connections, while continuing to act as a gateway for passengers into and out of the UK.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Maritime is a vital UK industry, bringing in £14bn to our economy as well as providing thousands of new and exciting careers for people across the country.

“This strategy is a clear message to the world – we will continue to be a leading maritime nation for the next 30 years and beyond.”

Among the legislation will be a framework for autonomous vessels – or drone ships – to allow a greater degree of testing in UK waters.

The strategy said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is looking at what is needed to ensure the safety of these and other ships and help “set the UK as the best place to trial this technology which will then attract international business and investment”.

By 2030, the government aims to develop a Maritime Innovation Hub to support new technologies and later this year a Clean Maritime Plan will set out how the UK can lead the way in green standards to reach zero-emission shipping as quickly as possible.

Also set out in the strategy are plans to pioneer the use of virtual and augmented reality in seafarer training, as the government looks to establish a Maritime Skills Commission.

Harry Theochari, chairman of Maritime UK, said: “For the first time the maritime sector has a real long-term strategy – setting out what government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.

“There are monumental opportunities for our sector – whether on technology, coastal economic development, attracting more maritime business to our shores or for the people that underpin our success.”

The strategy aims to help Britain capture part of a global ocean economy that will double in value to $3tn by 2030.

“Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, and Maritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise,” said the Department for Transport.

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