By Daniel Hunter

Exciting opportunities to export to countries like China, Brazil and South Korea have been identified and must be grasped by the British marine industry to help them deliver growth, Business Minister Michael Fallon said today (Monday).

Mr Fallon was speaking at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show as he unveiled a joint Government and industry-led plan to enhance the global competitiveness of British marine business — a sector worth £19 billion a year to our economy.

The UK Marine Export Strategy identifies some of the most promising sectors for British companies to target, including offshore oil & gas, naval defence and leisure boats & equipment.

Featuring eight recommendations for growth, the strategy also includes detailed analyses of emerging and mature economies across the world that present the best opportunities for exports.

Recommendations include:

• Developing a campaign approach to identify and pursue major marine business opportunities
• Enhancing the relationship management of existing key UK-based trade and investment customers as well as targeting overseas companies and potential inward investors
• Encouraging inward investment into targeted segments of the UK marine and offshore wind sectors which will build the capability of the UK and in turn increase its exportability
• Marketing UK marine excellence in high-growth markets like China, where luxury marine can form part of the Government’s GREAT campaign.

The strategy is being led by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), in close collaboration with industry and stakeholder bodies, and lays the foundation for a long-term strategic vision for the future of the British marine industries.

Business Minister Michael Fallon is Co-Chair of the Marine Industries Leadership Council — the advisory group comprising Government and industry which commissioned the strategy. He said:

“The marine and maritime sectors are a vital part of our economy, contributing approximately £19 billion each year and employing 367,000 people. What we can do with this evolving strategy is build the foundations for the future of the British marine industry. It forms part of our wider Industrial Strategy, which is planning the long term success of British business.

“A wealth of growth opportunities exist in the global marine sector that can benefit the UK economy. However, as this report highlights, UK companies face challenging conditions, particularly in more traditional markets like the European Union, which is why bigger opportunities lie further afield.”

Richard Sadler, CEO of Lloyd’s Register and Co-Chair of the Marine Industries Leadership Council, said:

“The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is clearly raising the priorities for our marine and maritime industries and it is up to us to make the most of the opportunity.

“We are optimistic about the future of our sector, led by humanity’s desire to recover from difficult times. We believe things will get better in the next couple of years, so I call on UK marine and maritime companies to invest with government in innovation, training and exports.”

The launch of the strategy will coincide with the launch of the Technology Strategy Board’s £8 million Vessel Efficiency Collaborative Research and Development Competition. Together with the MOD’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory and Scottish Enterprise, the competition will invest in collaborative Research & Development and fast-track projects to deliver viable solutions for more efficient marine vessels.

Iain Gray, CEO of Technology Strategy Board, said:

“The Vessel Efficiency Competition is a first for the UK, driving innovation and technology to deliver growth across the marine and maritime sector which is predicted to grow to around £25 billion per year by 2020.

“Our competition offers real growth opportunities in each of the main sectors — commercial, offshore, naval and leisure. Its focus is to build collaboration across the maritime and marine industry whilst at the same time developing UK-based supply chains and SMEs.”

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