Mersey Maritime was honoured to receive a visit by HRH The Princess Royal on Friday 17th September 2021, at the end of a full week of engagement during London International Shipping Week. The visit marked the start of a special day in the local industry calendar with the 7th Mersey Maritime Industry Awards taking place that evening at Liverpool Football Club.
In her capacity as Patron of Maritime UK, Her Royal Highness, received a dedicated briefing from Mersey Maritime CEO, Chris Shirling-Rooke, who is also Assistant Chair of Maritime UK and Simon Eardley, Policy and Partnerships Co-ordinator and Programme Manager for Regional Growth. Mersey Maritime leads on the national regional cluster development programme which is delivered in partnership with Maritime UK and the Department for Transport. This programme of activity sees the direct delivery of regional priorities identified in Maritime 2050, the long-term strategy for the industry launched in 2019, and being rolled out around the entire coast of the United Kingdom.
Her Royal Highness was then introduced fifty of Mersey Maritime’s senior partners drawn from across the sector, including representatives of port operators, shipping lines, maritime professional services, construction and engineering companies, in an informal setting. On leaving the Mersey Maritime HQ, Her Royal Highness, then visit Wirral Waters where she was shown the site of the £23 million Maritime Knowledge Hub project at the former hydraulic tower which will be the centre-piece of this major innovation hub as part of Peel Land and Property’s pioneering regeneration scheme. Executive Director, Peel L&P, James Whittaker, and Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development, briefed HRH on full plans for the scheme before she had the opportunity to meet key stakeholders and a group of maritime industry related apprentices.
Commenting, Chris Shirling-Rooke, said:
“After an intense week at London International Shipping Week and prior to our major industry awards, we were greatly honoured and privileged to receive such a high profile and senior visit. Her Royal Highness has taken a keen interest in the work that Mersey Maritime leads on at a national level, spreading our best practice and vision for regional growth and powering up our coastal communities, in her role as Patron of Maritime UK. We were able to bring her fully up to speed on all the latest developments including the designation of the first Freeports, including here in the Liverpool City Region, and the launch of a dedicated Coastal Communities Manifesto in London the day before.
“We were delighted to be able to give the opportunity to some of our key member businesses to meet Her Royal Highness. After such a challenging year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a fitting way to pay tribute to all the work that our industry has done to keep the country fed, fuelled and supplied, including with vital medical supplies. But we didn’t just reflect on the past. By showing our Royal guest the site of the new Maritime Knowledge Hub with our partners Peel Land and Property, we were able to give The Princess Royal an insight into the vision we have for the future of the industry here in the Liverpool City Region and beyond. The future is bright for our region and we are fully committed to delivering on all the big ticket issues, from decarbonisation to digitisation, that will be so vital in the years ahead.”
Richard Mawdsley, Director for Development at Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, commented:
“As Maritime UK’s Patron, we were very pleased to be able to show Her Royal Highness the plans for this iconic building that will act as a catalyst for the growth of the UK’s maritime sector.
The Wirral has a proud heritage as a gateway to the world’s oceans and the development of the Maritime Knowledge Hub will continue that heritage long into the future.”