Maritime industry generates optimism with challenges ahead

Simon Eardley, Head of Partnerships and Policy & Regional Cluster Development Manager writes:

At the December 2022 Mersey Maritime Face-2-Face networking breakfast, which closed our busy year of events, it was good to have an opportunity to remind members just how important the maritime industry is to the Liverpool City Region (LCR) economy and in turn to the national economy. Last year, as part of a UK wide economic impact study undertaken by Maritime UK, Mersey Maritime commissioned a ‘deep dive’ into the state of the sector here in the LCR and it’s definitely worth reminding ourselves just how significant it is. At a time of considerable economic uncertainty and with ongoing talk of a recession with an impact difficult to quantify, we can still be optimistic that maritime in our region remains vital to the future prosperity of businesses and individuals alike. And we can reasonably expect it to continue to be so in the immediate and long term.

Our ’State of the Maritime Region Report’, which was released at the Mersey Maritime Exchange Conference in June, covers the whole industry across a range of economic metrics, including: turnover, GVA, employment, the compensation of employees, Exchequer contribution and exports. The analysis is presented both in a ‘direct’ and ‘aggregate’ form and contains a forward look forecast too. The document – which is available for all Mersey Maritime members to access in its full form – summarises the key findings for the period from 2010, but specifically from 2017 to 2019. We also have a summary leaflet which has the main data in a highly presentable format.

In your own business discussions, please use the statistics to talk up and celebrate just how important the maritime sector is to the region, with some of the key takeout figures for you to focus on repeated below. Maritime is:

  • Worth £5 billion to the LCR economy through business turnover
  • Supports over 48,000 jobs in its widest sense with 4.65 jobs supported for every job generated by the sector in 2019
  • Employs some of the most productive workers in the economy (£93,301 LCR maritime average v £56,670 UK economy average)
  • Historically a growth industry, having expanded by 181% between 2010 and 2019
  • Predicted to grow by over 7% between 2021 and 2025

 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we know that maritime played a crucial role in keeping the country fed, fuelled and supplied with workers in our industry often on the frontline of key activity to support the wider effort to get us through such a challenging time. The same will apply again as we chart our way through choppy economic waters in the months ahead. But our foundations here in the Liverpool City Region are strong and we have cause to be positive given we know we have one of the most successful and fastest-growing maritime clusters in Europe. With 95% of our imported foods and other goods arriving here by sea, maritime will continue to provide a lifeline that is critical to our everyday lives.

Let’s not forget that Liverpool is also very well positioned strategically. As the UK’s principal westward-facing port, opportunities for growth with our friends and allies across the Atlantic will be crucially important in the future. That’s why the region was represented at the Atlantic Futures Forum in the United States in the Autumn by Mersey Maritime – an opportunity to showcase the industry to a significant and key audience. And we also look forward to the opportunities presented by our engagement in key projects closer to home, such as the new Maritime Knowledge Hub at Wirral Waters. Innovation, decarbonisation, entrepreneurship and the drive to deliver clean and green maritime will be at the heart of this work as the economy transitions. The sector’s role is to maximise these developments to our advantage and be relentlessly engaged and enthusiastic about them.

Oddly, for such an economically significant industry, maritime doesn’t always get the recognition given to other sectors or the support available from funding bids to central government that could play an important part in driving investment forward. Yet the figures within this economic impact analysis give a clear illustration of just how dynamic the industry is and how it can help spearhead recovery when the circumstances are right. Our job as a maritime ecosystem and community in this region is to promote the industry as a key destination for jobs and growth in as positive a way as possible. These statistics give us some of the ammunition to do so. I’d encourage you all to take a little time to familiarise yourself with them and then use them to the advantage of the whole industry. There’s perhaps no better way to illustrate Mersey Maritime’s belief that we are ‘Stronger Together’ if we do so.

To find out more about the CEBR Report click HERE.

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