UK sets out vision for future

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 25 January 2019


Maritime 2050, a new publication setting out the UK’s long-term strategy has been published by the UK Department for Transport.

The 338 page document was developed in close collaboration with Maritime UK, the body for the UK maritime sector and sets roadmaps for industry and government to work together to drive growth

The strategy highlights the government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector - worth more to the economy than aerospace or car manufacturing. That importance has only increased in the context of the UK leaving the EU, with 95% of all UK trade being enabled by the sector.

Maritime 2050 is based around seven themes: technology, trade, environment, people, infrastructure, security/resilience and the UK’s competitive advantage. These themes form the bedrock of the strategy itself and the route maps that will drive its implementation in the short, medium and long term.

Maritime UK Chair Harry Theochari 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. The global ocean economy will double in value to $3trn by 2030. Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, and Maritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise.

Today the UK is regarded as the world’s leading centre for maritime services - maritime law, finance, insurance, management and brokering. Maritime 2050 is designed to maximise UK strength in this area, retaining and enhancing its competitive advantage and developing new areas to compliment the offer, like green finance.

The strategy document has been welcomed by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), which issued a statement on the publication of the document. A focus on the positive impact that smart shipping and use of autonomous vessels could have on the environment, as well as safety and efficiency across the maritime industry, forms a key part of the paper. In recognition of these benefits, the strategy supports collaboration between the UKHO, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, industry experts and the wider government to develop navigation and safety data requirements to support the use of these technologies in the future.

The strategy also recognises the value of marine geospatial data in unlocking economic potential for maritime-related industries, with further recommendations to not only fully map the seabed in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone (spanning 6,805,586 sq. km) to modern standards, but also play a key role in international efforts to chart the world’s seabed. This aim will be key to helping government and wider industry improve our understanding of how we can protect and sustainably benefit from the global marine environment.

Commenting on the Maritime 2050 paper, Cathrine Armour, Director of Customer Division, said, “The UK Hydrographic Office welcomes the publication of Maritime 2050, which sets out a compelling vision for the future of the UK maritime sector. The UK has the world’s fifth largest Exclusive Economic Zone and the better we understand our oceans, the better placed we will be to ensure its prosperity whilst capitalising on the opportunities that exist.”

The full document and a short 50 page summary can be accessed here.

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