What an incredibly busy start to 2020 it has already been for Mersey Maritime and our members!
From two very well attended networking breakfasts with Gary Doyle of Peel Ports Group and Tony Graham of Cammell Laird, through to a practical LinkedIn workshop facilitated by Digital Associate, the visit of our colleagues from the Isle of Man on the occasion of the launch of the new ferry terminal project and then the really important visit of the Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP, every single day so far has been a strong and dynamic demonstration of just how important maritime is here in our region.
Nationally there is much talk of the imperative of investment in the North of England as a priority for the Government. From our perspective here, some of the asks around that are very simple: we want to see the realisation of high speed rail but that can’t just be about better north/south services. Connecting our east coast in the Humber to the west coast in Liverpool with efficient, fast and capable train services is vital for our future prosperity. We’ll be seeking to use our influence with government to lobby hard for that to be a priority.
Internationally we’ve also been reminded of the volatility in relationships around the world with ongoing uncertainty in Iran, underlining my message from last year about the importance of investment in the Royal Navy and our capability to be able to defend our interests across the globe. In early spring we will have a very visual demonstration of our existing strength when HMS Prince of Wales berths in the Mersey; what an incredible sight that will be!
Thinking of international affairs, we are now a matter of hours away from the point at which the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union on 31st January. For much of last year, the key message around Brexit that I heard was that businesses wanted certainty so they could plan and respond to the challenges and opportunities it presents accordingly. Now that the general election result has provided that certainty and the legislation is in place to bring it about, we must resolutely look to the future. I am determined that Mersey Maritime and the industry here in the Liverpool City Region generally plays a full part in driving forward an optimistic agenda for jobs and growth as our country looks to trade globally in a renewed and more independent fashion. That’s why we participated in the second UK-US Maritime Nations Forum last November in Washington and why we are delighted to partner with Maritime UK to host a reciprocal visit to Wirral and Liverpool this March. As the UK’s leading west coast facing maritime region, the opportunity here is obvious for us. But we mustn’t lose sight of our colleagues in Europe too, so we are also leading on the second UK-Netherlands Maritime Nations Forum in February over in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Members are strongly encouraged to engage in this important ‘trade mission’ work and I look forward to seeing many of you do so.
Finally, the Mersey Maritime Awards for 2020 continue to gather pace! The finalists have been selected, their promotional videos are in production and we will soon launch the voting platform to allow members and the wider industry the opportunity to select the overall winners. We fully expect this to be the biggest event yet with tables nearly sold out and around 500 guests attending. The whole Mersey Maritime team is proud to showcase our sector in this way and really delighted to encourage so many of our members to shout loud about the extraordinary work they engage in. See you in March!
2020 looks like it will be a really fantastic year for maritime in the Liverpool City Region. Mersey Maritime look forward to working with you all to drive forward our industry in the months ahead!