Posted on May 08, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
At the end of last month, ARX Maritime CEO, Josh Hutchinson wrote an article voicing concerns about the new government think tank. These concerns have now been mirrored in a statement released by the Chairman of Maritime UK, David Dingle CBE.
In his article, Josh Hutchinson said:
"Within 12 months the UK Brexit plan will be implemented and with many businesses relying on import and exports, it’s inevitable they will be looking to Mr Grayling’s board to design new ways to attract and promote maritime trade.
Having said that, the maritime world will also expect the board to understand shipping strengths & growth, while taking note of potential risks as they formulate plans.
Now is undoubtedly a very important time for the UK maritime industry as well as other businesses that rely upon the UK maritime companies."
He then warns that: "focusing on 2050 and “discussing strategies” may be a case of too little too late. There is an immediate need for the government to focus on providing insurance and securities by funding the UK maritime companies".
The sentiment that investment is essential if the maritime industry is to keep up with other industries was seconded by Maritime UK Chairman, David Dingle CBE today. Responding to the news of potential job cuts at the Department for International Trade, he said:
“At a time when the UK is preparing to leave the European Union and then position itself as an outward-looking, global trading maritime nation, we need maximum government support to encourage UK companies to export, and government support to match UK capability with global opportunities.
“To hear that this critical trade promotion support could be reduced is unbelievable.
He went on to talk about the need for investment rather than cuts:
“The whole economy needs government to invest in trade promotion, and that’s certainly true for the maritime sector.
“Today we have just one dedicated member of frontline staff in the Department for International Trade supporting the export of the UK’s world-class maritime products and services. Sectors like our creative industries have in the order of 15 people.
“We welcome government’s ambition for our maritime sector, but this must be matched with delivery.
“The UK’s £50bn maritime sector is committed to increasing the £500bn trade that passes through our ports, but we need government to play its part. We can make “global Britain” a reality, but not with one hand tied behind our backs.
He then went on to mirror Mr Hutchinson's argument that a lack of investment leaves the UK maritime industry behind those of the rest of the world: “There are tremendous opportunities in dynamic and fast-growing economies across the world. We need our network of embassies and High Commissions to be scoping opportunities and matching our companies with the demand. Competitor countries are certainly not scaling back their ambition, and neither should we.
“We live in a competitive global marketplace and competitor countries really get behind their companies.
“They get more of their companies to more exhibitions and on trade missions. Those companies get more contacts, knowledge and build stronger relationships which mean they win more business.”
The UK government announced in March that they had created a think tank to plan for maritime changes by 2050. For the full article on this see ARX Maritime's full article here.