It has been a busy start to the year already for Mersey Maritime’s Chief Executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, and team member, Simon Eardley, who attended the Maritime UK National Council meeting in London on Friday 10th January 2020. The meeting was chaired by its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal. Chris, as Assistant Chair of Maritime UK, leads on the Maritime 2050 priority of developing regional cluster organisations across the country and part of Simon’s role, aside from his duties within Mersey Maritime, is as Maritime UK Regional Cluster Development Manager. Promoting ‘Regional Growth’ is a key part of the overall theme of the Maritime 2050 strategy which sets the long-term direction of travel for the maritime industry in the years ahead. The National Council brings together leaders across the whole of the UK’s £46.1 billion maritime sector and other key priorities such as ‘People’, ‘Competitiveness’, the ‘Environment’ and ‘Innovation’ were also high on the agenda at the intensive discussions.
Commenting, Chris Shirling-Rooke said:
“Mersey Maritime is proud to lead the regional cluster development programme on behalf of Maritime UK as we seek to drive forward the Maritime 2050 agenda, working in close collaboration with Government. Using our considerable experience, built up over nearly twenty years across maritime in Merseyside, assisting with this work was an obvious area for our organisation to be involved with. We’ve supported our colleagues in the Cornwall Marine Network and the South Coast Marine Cluster with the development of ‘Maritime UK South West’, seen the launch of ‘Maritime UK Solent’ and also started the process of developing a cluster organisation in Norfolk and Suffolk. There’s also considerable interest from a range of other partners around the country in this work programme and we are confident of being able to continue to deliver new and developing clusters right across the breadth of the United Kingdom.
“Now that the general election campaign has been concluded and a settled majority government is in place, we know that powering up our coastal communities remains a key priority. Here in Merseyside, many opportunities await in the months ahead, not least given our strategic importance as a gateway for transatlantic trade. Maritime already represents some £4.2 billion to the local economy across the Liverpool City Region and contributes both directly and indirectly to 52,000 jobs. The sector is set to grow substantially in the next few years and I am determined that our dynamic businesses and member organisations will maximise every opportunity to increase jobs and prosperity for the whole of our area.”