Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside

By Mersey Maritime

Members urged to back the push to bring more women into maritime

Mersey Maritime member have been urged to give their support to a major drive to increase the number of women working in the maritime sector.

In June, Mersey Maritime took part in a seminar at he International Maritime Forum held as part of the International Business Festival at Exhibition Centre Liverpool where the issue was discussed in detail.

Maritime UK has established a Women in Maritime taskforce to address what it describes as a “critical shortage” of women in the industry. Mersey Maritime will play a key role in the project.

At the July Face-2-Face networking event, Mersey Maritime’s Commercial Manager Ruth Wood told a packed audience of members that the organisation would be attending both the Labour and Conservative party conferences in the autumn where it would raise the issue.

She added: “This is all about helping to drive change and it is not just about bringing more women into the maritime industry but also about getting more women into senior roles.”

On August 15 Mersey Maritime will hold a meeting to reveal more about the campaign and how members can get involved in the push. All members are welcome to attend.”

For more information or to register to attend this meeting please email us here.

By Mersey Maritime

Maritime industry takes steps to address ‘critical shortage’ of women in the sector

In business terms, the maritime sector is hugely diverse… but in gender terms, not so much.

In the Liverpool city region the sector is worth almost £4bn a year, encompasses more than 30 sub-sectors and employs 28,000 people. But nowhere near enough of them are women.

This is particularly true of the more traditional areas of maritime such as ports and shipping.

The issue was on the agenda at the International Maritime Forum held as part of the International Business Festival at Exhibition Centre Liverpool where a mainly female panel from the maritime industry discussed the issue in more detail.

Low-paying roles

Helen Kelly, who heads up the UK and Europe editorial team at Lloyd’s List, talked about recent research into the role of women in maritime across the world revealing that only 2-3% of seafarers were women.

“Men are also keeping the top jobs with women often siloed into low-paying roles,” she added. “Just 0.17% of women sampled in the survey had secured a place in executive leadership teams.”

She pointed out that other research had shown that more progressive firms that did work towards a gender balance were more successful than those that didn’t, with the loss to the UK overall in GDP contribution well over £100bn a year.

Distinguished career

Other panel members took the issue out of the abstract to offer real-life examples. Sarah Thompson enjoyed a successful and distinguished career with the Royal Navy, including working as a navigating officer on a Type 42 Destroyer, and is now in a senior role at Chevron Global Security.

She told those at the forum: “When I was 14 I went in to the Royal Navy recruitment office in Liverpool and told them I wanted to be an engineer. The man there said to me ‘well sweetheart, you don’t want to do that as it means you won’t have very nice nails’.”

Sarah did add that in the years since the Royal Navy had embraced diversity and was now way ahead of the private sector on the issue.

Her experience in the careers office was more than two decades ago and it would be easy to think that such overt sexism was now a rarity. Sadly not, added Helen Kelly, who told how, in the last couple of weeks, a male delegate at a similar event had said that women still belonged at home and in the kitchen.

New taskforce

The backdrop to the seminar was a major new initiative by industry body Maritime UK, which has established a Women in Maritime taskforce to address what it describes as a “critical shortage” of women in the industry. Mersey Maritime will play a key role in the project.

Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK and the only man on the six-strong panel, said everyone involved was keen to ensure the taskforce was not just a talking shop but a real catalyst for change in the maritime industry.

“In two years’ time we want to look at the data to see what has worked and not worked – and hold ourselves to account,” he said. “And we will be creating a charter which will be published later this year.

“Our aim is to produce a series of recommendations for Government and industry.”

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke was in the audience at the session and said: “Here in Merseyside we are seeing women that are helping to drive the maritime sector forward.

“Two years ago this kind of event would probably not have happened. Now we have real momentum and that is tremendously exciting.”

Career choices

Also on the panel was Nicola Good, executive editor of FairPlay, Camilla Carlbom Flinn, chairman of Carlbom Shipping, Chief Officer, Susan Cloggie-Holden, of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Kirsty MacDonald, a business development executive at Liverpool John Moores University, a member of Mersey Maritime.

Kirsty said one crucial aspect of the lack of gender diversity in maritime was the shortage of girls who aspired to technical or engineering careers. She explained: “Engineering contributes 26% of the UK’s entire GDP.

“There are 87,000 graduate engineering opportunities in the UK and we are producing 46,000 graduates – but only 15% of them are female. Not enough girls are being steered towards STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects in schools.”

She said work was being done to address this and she praised the work of Liverpool Girl Geeks, a social enterprise which runs programmes to encourage more girls to consider careers in tech.

But she added: “There is still not enough understanding of the plethora of opportunities that are available in tech and engineering. If we can’t persuade girls to choose technical subjects at GCSE level then we have lost them.”

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime’s cluster approach can help create 4,000 new jobs

Industry body Mersey Maritime says it can help the maritime sector to create 4,000 new jobs across the Liverpool city region over the next five years.

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke told the International Maritime Forum at Liverpool’s International Business Festival that the business was widely acknowledged as the most successful maritime cluster in the UK.

He added it was part of a collaboration with Peel, Liverpool John Moores University and Wirral Council on the £25m Maritime Knowledge Hub (MKH), a training and business incubation facility will be created in Wirral’s Waters with work due to begin later this year.

The MKH, he said would provide a catalyst to accelerate business growth across the city region maritime sector and would also provide facilities for children and young people to “introduce maritime to the next generation”.

Panel discussion

“The key word for is intervention – to help SMEs across the city region grow and create jobs,” said Chris, who was taking part in a panel discussion on the importance of clusters. “What we have here is not a collection or conurbation of big businesses but an entire eco-system that helps businesses to grow.”

He said Mersey Maritime was formed in 2003 to address the “disjointed” nature of the Merseyside sector and set about creating a cluster that put “skills at the top of the agenda”.

He explained: “Our target has been jobs and growth but also the need to became less dependent on the public sector. Not so long ago about 80% of or funding came from the public sector – now that is down into single digits.”


Chris also offered a snapshot of how diverse the maritime sector in the city region is, adding: “There are 33 sub-sectors in maritime and ship and ports account for only around 8% of that – it is about the whole supply chain.

“It is for us to intervene where Government and big business has not. Networking in the maritime sector is critical – it is a very trust-based area of business. We are a conduit for collaboration.”

And, talking about working with other UK clusters, he added: “It us not about us working in silos. There is always some competition between clusters but it is also about working closely with other clusters nationally.”

During the session Mark O’Reilly, chairman and chief executive of Team Humber Maritime Alliance agreed that collaboration both within and between maritime clusters offered a significant boost to the UK’s global economic ambitions.

Dick Welsh, director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, offered a view from outside the structure of the EU. He said: “We look at this as a non-EU state and we stand on our two feet.

“We are in a position to serve the needs of the maritime industry and we are home to a number of different services, including legal, insurance, technical management, finance, education and training.

“People like being in cluster because those in the shipping community like to talk to each other, do business with each other and socialise with other shipping people.”

Huge investment

Also on the panel was Colin Lavelle, a maritime lawyer and Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson. He offered a fascinating insight into huge project launched by the Chinese government in 2013 called One Belt One Road (OBOR).

Colin said: “By 2030 60% of the global middle class will be living in Asia and a number of funds have already been established worth billions of dollars.

“The Marshall Plan, which was a massive aid programme funded by the US to rebuild Western Europe after the Second World War, was only a 12th of the size of OBOR. This will reshape international trade and shipping.”

He talked about the possible legal implications for those getting involved and said OBOR could be perceived as an economic threat by Europe – but also potentially offered massive opportunities for the maritime sector.

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool ready to regain its status as the UK’s ‘gateway to the world’, Mersey Maritime chief to tell global audience

Maritime Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke will tell a global audience how Liverpool city region is now home to the most important industry cluster in the UK and was ready to lead the UK’s post-Brexit strategy.

Mr Shirling-Rooke is one of a number of heavyweight speakers, along with trade minister Baroness Fairhead and former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, at the International Maritime Forum – part of Liverpool International Business Festival – on Thursday, June 21.

The festival, the third the city has hosted, is welcoming 27,000 visitors and 150 delegations from across the world during its two-week duration.

Festival highlight
The International Maritime Forum, organised by Shipping Innovation – creator of London International Shipping Week, is one of the highlights of the festival with the maritime industry critical to the success of the UK’s post-Brexit trade strategy.

The forum will also include a session on Women in Maritime chaired by Helen Kelly, Europe editor in chief of Lloyds List and will issue a call to action is to get businesses to sign up to the Women in Maritime Pledge.

Mr Shirling-Rooke will take part in a key session, focusing on why maritime clusters have become so important. Liverpool city region’s diverse maritime is now worth an estimated £4bn and in April, David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK praised Mersey Maritime’s “collaborative approach” which, he said, was a model for the rest of the UK to follow.

At the forefront
‘On the opening day of the International Business Festival, the director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn reminded us that Liverpool once accounted for 10% of the world’s trade.

“The Maritime Forum will give us access to business people and maritime industry leaders from across the world and that is a golden opportunity to get the message out there that Merseyside is ready to regain its place as the UK’s gateway to the world.”

During the conference Lord Prescott and Baroness Fairhead will also discuss how the Northern Maritime Powerhouse impacts the UK’s trade growth goals.

Women in Maritime will be the final session of the day and Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK will present the work of the Women in Maritime taskforce and it’s key priorities of recruiting, remunerating, progressing, and retaining women in maritime roles.

By Mersey Maritime

Best passenger figures since 2011 for Liverpool Airport in 2017


Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) handled 4.95m passengers in 2017 – a 3% rise on 2016 and its highest figure since 2011.
The airport, a member of Mersey Maritime, has also finished 13th in a global league table for scheduled flight on-time performance and 7th when compared to airports of a similar size.

Highlights in 2017 included the start of Blue Air’s base at Liverpool and the introduction of new year round services to Rome, Milan and Alicante.
Other new services to a range of European cities included Venice with easyJet, and Prague, Bari and Girona with Ryanair, whilst TUI commenced summer holiday flights to Ibiza from Liverpool too.

New development
Last year the Airport also completed the latest phase of development work aimed at further improving the customer experience for departing passengers with the introduction of a number of new retail brands.
These included Dixons and Accessorize, new shops, bars and restaurants and more than £4.5m invested in the refurbishment and upgrade of approximately 20,000 sq ft of the upper floor of the departure lounge.
Other improvements have also included new and improved stores for existing retailers, completely new washroom facilities, large flight information screens, new seating and new lighting to create a lighter and brighter passenger environment.

New brands
The latest phase of improvement works are nearing completion with the expansion and redesign of the existing World Duty Free shop with a broader range of products and brands available including MAC and Jo Malone.
Mark Povall, strategy director for LJLA, said: “2017 has been another great year for the airport with even more passengers choosing to take advantage of the convenience of flying from here.
“We expect 2018 to be even busier with easyJet basing another aircraft at Liverpool from July onwards.”

Tony McDonough

Consultant at Liverpool Business News –

Mobile: 07931 964948

Twitter: tonymc39

By Mersey Maritime

How innovative start-ups can transform the Mersey maritime sector


Maritime is a sector where ‘tradition’ is a word used often but it is increasingly entrepreneurial and innovative start-up firms that are driving the sector forward.

Around two dozen Mersey Maritime members gathered at the Maritime Hub in Birkenhead to learn how more could be done to bring more ‘disruptive innovators’ into the industry.

Fresh thinking

The Port XL event looked in detail at how new technology and fresh thinking from start-up firms can transform the way maritime operations are run.

Speaking at the seminar were two experts on the subject:

  • Jorn Douwstra of Rotterdam Partners, a business that does the same type of work as Invest Liverpool in terms of attracting and aiding businesses who want to set up operations at the Dutch port.
  • Mare Straetmans, managing director of Port XL, a global entrepreneurship hub for innovation from the maritime, logistics and energy sectors.

Those present heard how the average age of entrepreneurs starting up maritime business was 40. They often have a wealth of experience and also an open-minded approach to new technology and ideas.

Ship mooring

One example discussed was the methods used for mooring ships. Vessels have changed and developed so much over the years and cost vast amounts of money, yet most ports still use a ‘rope & bullet’ for mooring, which can take up to an hour.

Start-ups have been looking into better ways to do this, such as magnetic mooring, shore tension and vacuum mooring, all of which offer faster, safer ways to moor ships. Larger corporations have yet to spot this opportunity.

Members at the seminar also learned about Port XL’s three core activities:

  • Scouting – searching for new innovative start-ups for their programme
  • Matching – matching successful start-ups with corporations
  • Accelerating – mentors, corporations and coaches help start-ups continue to develop their idea and bring it into fruition

It sees itself as bridging the gap between start-ups and larger corporations and it was stressed its work is not about attracting start-ups to Rotterdam – it wants to implement this globally and are looking at how they expand the programme to cover more areas.

Invaluable insight

Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, said: “Maritime is built on great traditions and the sector also has to embrace new ideas and technology if it is to remain competitive.

“At the event we discussed the Port XL way of encouraging innovation, whether something similar could be applied to Liverpool in future and how it may be possible to convince larger corporations to support and work with start-ups.

“This was an invaluable insight for our members into the possibilities for growth and innovation in the Liverpool city region.”

Tony McDonough

Consultant at Liverpool Business News –

Mobile: 07931 964948

Twitter: tonymc39

By Mersey Maritime

Connecting Ports & Innovation: Meet Rotterdam’s Port XL on January 15th 

Interested in working with other ports and maritime companies? Want to expand your business with or to Rotterdam or do you wish to be involved in disrupting the maritime industry locally and globally? If your answer is yes to these questions, we can offer you a kick-start!

On the 15th of January Mersey Maritime and our executive member, the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) offer you an exclusive networking opportunity where you will be introduced to Port XL and Rotterdam Partners and learn about their innovative approaches that bring together the maritime industry and technology from all over the world. Rotterdam is one of the biggest and most efficient port cities in the world and is looking to work together with you to build for the future through innovation and collaboration.

PortXL is the first World Port Accelerator and unique in its kind. They partner with leading companies, organisations and individuals around the globe, from Singapore, to Houston, Piraeus and hopefully also Liverpool City Region. Its aim is to accelerate innovative companies in ports all over the world, working together with local port authorities, city councils and influential companies to solve real life challenges, implement innovations and make the maritime industry grow and be more competitive! PortXL focuses on building an ecosystem that creates value for all stakeholders working in and around the port and other port related industries through an intense mentorship driven program with founders, investors and corporate partners. In the Netherlands they work with (amongst others) Van Oord, Port of Rotterdam, EY, ECE, Vopak, Uniper Boskalis, Rabobank, Rotterdam Port Fund, Thales, City of Rotterdam, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and InnovationQuarter. Everything PortXL and its’ partners do, is aimed at growing and disrupting the maritime, transport & logistics, energy and chemical & refinery markets, locally and globally.

Rotterdam Partners is the local trade & investment agency and your gateway to business in Rotterdam and all of Europe mainland. Whether you are looking for new business partners, market introductions, information or a strategic location to prepare for the future, Rotterdam Partners is there to help you make it all happen!  Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe and the eighth-largest in the world. More to the point, it is also Europe’s busiest port in terms of volume, with a throughput in 2013 of 11.6 million containers (TEUs). It has the deepest seaport in the world, which can be accessed by even the largest sea-going vessels ever made. The port and the area around it make up the largest industrial cluster in the Netherlands. Even as ‘well connected’ goes, Rotterdam is supremely well hooked up in all the ways that will matter for your business: rail, road, shipping—including inland shipping—pipelines, air, and of course online, with state-of-the-art telecoms and internet connectivity. When it comes to being networked, in fact, the city’ has everything you and your business will need to thrive.

During the event you will get to learn more about the port city of Rotterdam and Port XL. Our guests will particularly elaborate on how the maritime ecosystem in Rotterdam works, how this unique form of collaboration benefits the entire industry around the port and how innovations from the accelerator program have led to business growth and successes already. An excellent opportunity to share knowledge, especially as the Mersey Side and Rotterdam have a lot in common. There will be plenty of time to network and discuss your individual cases with the experts from Rotterdam over our complementary lunch.

Mersey Maritime and the Netherlands Business Support Office join forces to bring together stakeholders, businesses and networks from the UK and Dutch maritime industry to prepare for the future and create growth for through collaboration and innovation. This event will be the starting point in our series of ‘West-East Corridor’ Events connecting the Mersey side to the Netherlands.

To register for this event please email 

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 (MMIA18) Applications Live!

Applications & Ticket Sales for the prestigious Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 are now live!  

As we enter our fourth year, we are delighted to welcome back our four Diamond Sponsors, Beech Group, Liverpool John Moores University, Peel Ports Group & Stream Marine Training (SMT). In addition to this we are also extremely proud to have all of our award categories fully sponsored and very grateful to our many reinstated sponsors for their continued support.

The Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 will be held at the world famous Anfield Stadium on 8th March 2018, and will be our biggest and best yet. ‘Making Waves Globally’ has been chosen as the underlying theme because Liverpool is trading on a global scale and leading the way in terms of infrastructure investment, innovation, and connectivity both nationally and with the rest of the world. The level of interest in the awards has already been outstanding, and we are expecting the number of nominations to be larger than ever.

There are now 12 Awards you may wish to apply for, with the exciting addition of the National Impact Award for 2018! As always, the Judges will be considering who could be the potential candidate for this year’s Maritime Ambassador, taking our award total up to 13.

To book your tickets please click here and return the attached form to

To download an application pack please click here
The closing date for applications will be Friday 5th January 2018.

Award Categories:
Business of the Year– Sponsored by Stream Marine Training
SME of the Year – Sponsored be Royal HaskoningDHV
Micro Business of the Year – Sponsored by MTC
National Impact Award – Sponsored by Maritime UK
Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University
Engineering Company of the Year – Sponsored by RSM
Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Stellamar
Innovation Award – Sponsored by Peel Ports Group
Freight & Logistics Award – Sponsored by Seatruck
Global Reach Award – Sponsored by NatWest
Maritime Professional Services Award – Sponsored by Tilney
Positive Impact Award – Sponsored by Associated British Ports (ABP)
Maritime Ambassador of the Year** – Sponsored by Beech Group

We wish you the best of luck with your applications!


By Annette Parker



London International Shipping Week (11 – 15 Sept) is almost upon us and it would be remiss of us not to point you in the direction of this massively successful event – over 140 different industry events across numerous spectacular London venues, including the LISW keynote conference on Thursday 14th – and encourage you to attend. In among the packed schedule, Mersey Maritime is hosting a half-day Investing in a Connected Future event on 12 September, a high level, panel-style, discussion with key business leaders on the themes of Innovation, Connectivity and Skills. The MM event is free to attend and you can register here.


Liverpool’s new Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has paid his first visit to the Port of Liverpool, including the new Liverpool2 container terminal, which he hailed as a “transformational project” for the City Region. He met CEO Mark Whitworth and COO Patrick Walters during a tour of the site, followed by a presentation on Peel Ports’ £750m package of investments in logistics infrastructure, saying that his role “will be to work with government and other agencies to make sure that we capitalise on the potential of projects like Liverpool2 to drive prosperity and build a successful and competitive City Region for the future.” Full article here.

Construction has finished on offshore wind farm operator DONG Energy’s new operations base in Seacombe, Wirral. The multi-million pound Kings Wharf facility will serve both Burbo Bank windfarm and Burbo Bank Extension which opened in May this year, with about 45 staff being based at the site. Lee Rollason, head of Burbo Bank operations, said: “Having operated out of Liverpool for over ten years, DONG Energy is committed to investing in the North and this state of the art facility is another example of that. To have both our windfarms operating from here makes complete sense in terms of efficiencies and the site has excellent access offshore.”  He added: “As a local resident, I’m certainly pleased with the part we’ve had to play in regenerating this area.”

A major milestone in the construction of polar research ship the Sir David Attenborough has been reached, as the stern section of the vessel began its journey by barge last week from A&P Tyne (Newcastle), part of A&P Group, to the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. Footage of the load out operation uploaded by the British Antarctic Survey (BAC) is available to view here. The huge steel block weighing 899 tonnes – the equivalent weight of 71 double decker buses – arrived at Cammell Laird yesterday, 30 August. John Syvret CBE, who is the CEO of both Cammell Laird and A&P Group, said: “The construction of the blocks by the A&P Group, as a contractor to Cammell Laird, is a tremendous showcase for British shipbuilding and engineering.  Whilst both organisations are fierce competitors who very much ‘compete where they must’, they also on an arm’s length commercial basis ‘cooperate where they can’.”

Fire suppression systems business Firetrace Ltd has been certified by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), the leading international Certification Body in the fields of security and fire protection. The certification makes Firetrace one of only a handful of fire suppression suppliers in the world to meet the LPCB Standard LPS1666 and the UK’s only valve manufacturer to gain the accreditation. LPCB approval is recognised by governments and regulatory authorities across the world, especially in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. A product with the LPCB stamp of approval is one that is judged to successfully reduce the risk of theft and/or fire. Firetrace will now be listed the organisation’s ‘Red Book’, which is available online to specifiers and other users throughout the world.  Tim Melton Joint MD, Firetrace Ltd said: “We are proud to have gained LPCB approval for our pneumatic tubing system. This award recognises our position as an innovative and leading company in the field of fire suppression systems.”


Date: 29 September 2017
Venue: Bromborough Golf Club, Raby Hall Rd, Bromborough, Wirral, CH63 ONW
Organiser: Liverpool Marine Engineers’ & Naval Architects’ Guild

This competition is open to Guild members and guests, with full golf package (£50pp) and dinner-only packages (£17.00) available. The day will start from 12.00-noon at the Clubhouse, Bromborough, with play commencing at 1.35pm. There will be trophies and prizes for Guild members as well as guests. Further details and application from John Troop of James Troop & Co at 01928-566170.

CONCERT: The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth
Date: Saturday 30 September
Venue: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Tickets for a rousing two and a half hour concert featuring The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth are now on sale from Liverpool Phil priced £15 – £30, with proceeds to the RNRM (Royal Navy Royal Marines) Charity. Details and booking here:


Merseyside’s Engineering College in Birkenhead has boosted its Technical Training Team with the appointment of Brian Bowers, a highly experienced welding specialist who began his career as an apprentice with Cammell Laird between 1983 and 1987, working on submarines and surface warships as a welder. He has since worked with other major UK industry brands including BAE Systems and Airbus-UK based at Broughton.


We’re putting out an appeal to secure guidance or direct assistance for a Merseyside based project team taking part in a competition to send an unmanned and autonomously operated small boat across the Atlantic Ocean next year. Mike Howard, project manager, will lead a team in manufacturing, outfitting and testing their boat here in the North West, aiming to depart from Northern Spain and travel to the southern Caribbean islands of Barbados, St Lucia or Martinique. Where the team need assistance is in the recovery and repatriation of the craft back to the UK, including knowledge of documentation required to enter these territories, and the route and costs the project may need to commit to in the repatriation of craft back to the UK. Anyone who may be able to assist can contact Mike Howard at: 0151 531 6256.
The project is partnered with both the National Oceanographic Centre in Liverpool and Glyndwr University in Wrexham and endorsed by the Amateur Yacht Research Society, a registered educational charity.

It is excellent news to read that the three and a half year construction of the new £600m Mersey Gateway Bridge in Runcorn is almost complete – bang on schedule and within budget. It is the first time a permanent crossing has been built across the river Mersey since 1961. Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of Merseylink, said: “All along we said we’d be opening in autumn 2017 and it is great to be able to keep that promise. We’ll update everyone with a firmer date as we get closer to opening but we’re confident that we will open by mid-October at the latest. Much of our final work is weather dependent, but we will be able to give a definitive date around five days ahead of opening.”
Registration for tolling is now open at


By Annette Parker




The Mersey Maritime team is taking advantage of these relatively quiet few weeks in August to put together a dynamic events programme for the next six months. So far, the programme includes London International Shipping Week events, some dynamite Face-2-Face presenters (think DONG Energy, Associated British Ports, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, Peel Ports…); an R&D, Innovation and Tax event; something on Cyber Security and more in our series of One-on-One meetings with prominent business leaders. While we send details out by email almost every week you can always see an at-a-glance summary on our website events page – bookmark it and keep going back as we start to more information in. In the meantime, here’s the latest news round up for the maritime sector here in the Liverpool city region.



Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports Group has begun phase 2 of its expansion programme at Liverpool2, the port’s £400m deepwater container terminal. This second phase includes the  installation of three ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and ten cantilever rail mounted gantry cranes (CRMG) to add to the  five STS cranes and 12 CRMG cranes installed as part of phase one, which opened in November 2016.  Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said: “This is an important step in the development of Liverpool2 and reflects our confidence and our long-term commitment to positioning the North of England as a competitive route to international markets and a major port for global trade. The development of the project programme is now well underway. We are currently preparing the outline designs and would look to be in a position to appoint construction partners in spring of next year, with a view to commencement of construction shortly after. We anticipate a completion date for phase two in 2019.”


Three years since its previous OFSTED inspection in 2014, The Engineering College in Birkenhead has maintained its status as a Grade 2 training provider. Chief Executive of The Engineering College, Terry Weston, said: “This inspection has been one of the most challenging inspections that the college has seen since I have been here. Retaining the Grade 2 means that we can continue to work with our students and clients to ensure that employer needs are met and our students become well developed and quality engineers in industry, following their programme.” The OFSTED inspection revealed that the large majority of current trainees at The Engineering College make good progress on their qualifications and almost two thirds progress onto advanced apprenticeship programmes in engineering, after completing their traineeship programme.  More on this story here.


UK-headquartered Bibby Marine Services has signed a contract with Total E&P Netherland to charter the new Damen designed and built ‘Walk to Work’(W2W) Service Operation Vessel ‘Bibby WaveMaster1’ from April 2018 through to October 2018 with options to extend up to three years. Total will use Bibby WaveMaster 1 to replace jack ups and helicopters, providing W2W access to gas platforms in the southern North Sea as part of a conscious decision to transfer innovation and efficiencies developed for the Offshore Wind market into the Oil & Gas market. The vessel will provide accommodation for up to 90 people including crew.


Liverpool diesel-engine sales and maintenance specialists James Troop & Co is celebrating its landmark 150th anniversary with a surge in new business and export sales. The family-run company based in Runcorn, one of Liverpool’s longest-standing maritime and industrial businesses, is reporting a 27% sales hike on last year’s figures between January to June.  Company chairman Bob Troop, who is the great, great grandson of founder James Troop, said growth has been driven by specialist projects in the USA, expansion within the UK windfarm sector and new contracts with major ship management companies.  Mr Troop recently appointed new joint managing directors Derek Bate and Robert Pollock, who have amassed more than 60 years at the firm. Full press release here.


Liverpool’s £15m Sensor City project in Liverpool city centre, has secured its first tenant. The facility, a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, focuses on the ‘internet of things’ or the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, using sensor technology in industrial and domestic processes to record, store and send real-time information via the web. Dr Joanne Phoenix, business development manager at Sensor City, said: “The practical completion of Sensor City is an exciting milestone, as it allows us to finally open our doors to organisations that are looking to bring their ground-breaking sensor technology ideas to market.” Sensor City will help to promote UK sensor technology globally by offering technical expertise, specialist equipment, business support and an international platform for collaboration to SMEs and entrepreneurs, helping them to create prototypes and bring them to market.


Wirral shipyard Cammell Laird anticipates the creation of up to 1,000 jobs in the next five years if work takes off at its newly opened Nuclear AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre). The new facility in Birkenhead, which opened in July, aims to develop new ways of building nuclear power stations more efficiently. The development could see component parts built at Cammell Laird before completed modules are moved to power stations for installation, with individual modules weighing up to 5,000 tonnes each. Jonathan Brown, managing director of Cammell Laird’s energy division, said: “The nuclear new build programme estimates a potential spend up to £100bn over 30 years. It is therefore imperative that as an industry we make the programme work from a cost and schedule perspective, stripping out waste and any unnecessary expense. Building modules off-site is one way to make the new build process much more efficient, cost effective and less risky for our investors.” More on this story here:


Essar Oil (UK) Limited, which owns and operates the Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port, has confirmed a new agreement with Etihad Airways for the direct supply of aviation fuel at Manchester Airport. The deal strengthens Essar’s aviation proposition in the UK, with the company now having direct jet fuel supply agreements in place with major airlines operating out of Manchester, Heathrow and Leeds Bradford airports. Essar Stanlow produces 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel demand and manufactures over 2bn litres of jet fuel each year, playing a key role in the country’s aviation industry. The Etihad agreement is the latest development in Essar Oil UK’s strategy of downstream integration, which has also seen a successful entry into the UK fuel retail market with the opening of 33 Essar branded service stations to date.


Marine propulsion specialists Stone Marine Shipcare, part of the Stone Marine Group, has signed a service agency agreement with Drydocks World in Dubai, the largest shipyard facility in Middle East Asia. The agreement sees Drydocks World permanently host one of Stone Marine’s innovative Mobile Workshops in Dubai, from where  Stone Marine’s services can also be mobilised quickly to other locations in the region whenever a ship propeller is in need of repair. Stone Marine Shipcare engineers are now training their counterparts at Drydocks World in use of the equipment so that technicians from both organisations can carry out repair and maintenance work. SMS MD Don Quilliam is delighted with the new relationship, saying: “With over 300 vessels docking at Drydocks World each year we are confident this will be a strong partnership, further enhancing the excellent service and facilities offered by Drydocks World with an unrivalled propeller repair and modification service.” Pictures and full story here:


Merseyside maritime company Wren Industrial & Marine Fabrications has been bought by Merseyside entrepreneur Jonathan Willoughby. Bootle-based Wren Industrial has been run for 27 years by husband and wife team David and Helen Wren, specialising in manufacturing doors, windows and hatches for ships and boats as well as welding and fabrication services primarily in the maritime sector. Wren’s clients include the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and ferry operators Stena and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.  Mr Willoughby, who also runs welding and fabrication company Yorkwall Engineering in Ellesmere Port, said the time was right to take Wren Industrial to the next level, aiming to double its £1million turnover in the next 12 months. “Wren has a really strong reputation in the maritime industry […] for the quality of its work and its dedication to customer service,” he said. “My aim is to now build on that bedrock and grow Wren’s client base and brand nationally and internationally. More on this story here.


Those of you who attended Mersey Maritime’s Industry Awards dinner in March helped us raise funds towards a new seafarers support hub in Eastham, run by CEO John Wilson and his excellent team at Liverpool Seafarers Centre. The Hub has very quickly proved its worth, featuring in international news as the story of a group of stranded sailors unfolded over three disturbing weeks in July. Sterling work undertaken by all involved – you can read the full story here.


Membership of Mersey Maritime is growing as we continue to welcome new businesses on board.  Among these is our newest sponsor, Fort Recruitment, whose owners Ian Buckley and Kate Birmingham have stepped up their membership with us from Executive Club level.  Also since June, we have welcomed two new Executive Club members: Financial solutions provider Bathgate Business Finance and global logistics provider Denholm Logistics. At standard level we have added Wren Industrial & Marine Fabrications, civil engineering company D Morgan, distance learning provider UniCourse, industrial valve manufacturer Heap & Parthers and business consultancy Morgan Beaumont. Details about membership of Mersey Maritime are available on our website.



Date: 14 September 2017

Time: 09:30 – 16:00

Location: Sensor City, Russell Street, Liverpool L3 5LT

This one day event, organised by Sensor City’s Satellite Systems Catapult team, will include speakers on subjects ranging from Space in the UK (an overview of the readily transforming commercial space landscape), a look at EO (Earth Observation), satellite comms and positioning capabilities, a panel session, information on the Knowledge Exchange Programme and an overview of Sensor City’s Catapult Programme, explaining how businesses can engage with it. Registration details will be announced shortly or contact business development manager Dr Joanne Phoenix of Sensor City:


MARLAN MARITIME WINS MERSEYSIDE INNOVATION AWARD 2017 Marlan Maritime Technologies, a maritime sector SME from Liverpool, has triumphed at this year’s prestigious Merseyside Innovation Awards with a system that records weather conditions, tidal movements and vessel traffic to create bespoke solutions for efficient offshore monitoring. The system helps ports and harbours, coastal surveillance and offshore asset protection to achieve safety, security and efficiency: it can be used by shipping businesses, engineers and scientists. As winner of the award, Marlan Maritime received a cheque for £10,000. Alex Sinclair, MD at Marlan Maritime, said: “I’m blown away to have won this award. As a new company, the prize fund will be invested in obtaining expert advice from industry leaders as we feel that before we can exploit international markets, we must first use the knowledge that is right here in Liverpool.

LEK LUBRICATION’S ALEXIS LAY APPOINTED NATIONAL VC OF THE FSB Congratulations to Alexis Lay of Merseyside family-run firm LEK Lubrication Engineering, on her appointment as national vice chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Alexis has enjoyed a long and successful association with FSB, having held several roles including Branch Chair and National Councillor and Conference Coordinator since joining in 1991. As a director of LEK Lubrication Engineering, Alexis has helped build up a successful business which supplies, fits, services and repairs lubrication systems for all types of industries, including maritime.


STAYBRIDGE SUITES, LIVERPOOL We are pleased to be able to pass on a special members’ discount of 15% on overnight or extended stays to member businesses of Mersey Maritime, along with an open invitation from the Staybridge team to the newly refurbished hotel’s regular evening socials. The discount is valid until December 2018, using the special booking code included in the website members’ directory  under Staybridge Suites Liverpool.  Weekly socials are held every Mon, Tues & Weds from 6.30 – 7.30pm, with complimentary drinks and snacks – all welcome. Details on Staybridge Suites Liverpool are here:


By Annette Parker


Trade representative body Mersey Maritime has praised the power of partnership as an agreement was signed at its Birkenhead headquarters yesterday (14 June) to develop a brand new maritime and offshore training facility in the UK’s North West.

Investment for the major new training facility was officially agreed this week, following months of discussions in which Mersey Maritime played a vital role.

The cluster organisation for the maritime sector in the North West has been instrumental in initiating discussions and lining up potential partners from across the region’s public and private sectors to secure the business connections and support needed to bring Glasgow-based Stream Marine Training to Merseyside.

Stream Marine confirmed their commitment to establishing a major maritime and offshore training centre in Wirral by signing an agreement with Wirral Council that will see them invest up to £1.5m in new facilities at Tower Quays and a new fire training ground along Duke Street, Birkenhead. The investment could also have a significant broader economic impact, with the potential of up to 5,000 additional bed nights being booked in Wirral each year.

Using the Wirral Waters Investment Fund, Wirral Council has put together a compelling package of support as part of a strategy to strengthen the Maritime and low carbon sectors on the Wirral peninsula. The opening of the new facility within the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone is set to create up to 25 new jobs.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive Officer of Mersey Maritime, said: “The signing of the agreement this week between Stream Marine Training and Wirral Council is the culmination of many months of hard work behind the scenes. Mersey Maritime initiated this and has been at the heart of the discussions during that time as part of our agenda to drive forward inward investment and help create the right conditions for business growth.

“Stream Marine’s decision to set up its first base outside of Scotland in Wirral is a mark of confidence in the region and the opportunities available to ambitious business owners looking to expand. This type of investment is perfectly aligned with Mersey Maritime’s vision for the cluster, promoting growth, innovation and new jobs.”

The support Mersey Maritime has provided to Stream Marine Training has been facilitated through its business support programme New Markets 2 (NM2). The cluster organisation is one of 11 organisations in the Liverpool city region delivering support to fast-growth small and medium-sized businesses via the NM2 project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and is the first to successfully attract inward investment as a result of the support it has delivered to SMT.

George Davies, Deputy Leader of Wirral Council, said: “It was only Monday this week when we announced our ambition to create thousands of jobs in Wirral through a £1 billion regeneration programme. It’s fantastic that, just a few days later, we are already talking about new businesses opening their doors in the borough – it’s a sign of confidence in Wirral, and it’s great news for residents.

“Maritime businesses such as Stream Marine Training are exactly the type of company we are trying to attract to Wirral – fast growing, ambitious and able to invest in the area and create jobs and I am delighted to be able to welcome SMT to Wirral. On behalf of the council I pledge to do all we can to continue to support them.’

The nearest offshore facility currently is in Lancashire and is heavily oversubscribed, so the catchment potential for Stream Marine Training is considerable. Chief executive Martin White is confident there is a real demand that can be served from the Liverpool area.

He said: “The range of support available to maritime businesses moving to the Liverpool city region is outstanding. We have been welcomed with open arms and are excited to be setting up our new operation here in Wirral. I’m immensely grateful to Wirral Council, Mersey Maritime and Peel Land & Property for their work in getting us to this point and look forward to being part of this regional success story.”

Paula Basnett, CEO at Wirral Chamber said: “It is great news, but just the start of our journey with SMT. They do already have relationships with major companies who have committed to using Wirral facilities when they open. We are now working closely with them to ensure they are fully aware of the quality of our other local suppliers as they operationalise.”


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Image shows: Cllr George Davies, Deputy Leader, Wirral Council (left) with Stream Marine CEO Martin White 



By Annette Parker


Mersey Maritime is hailing the success of its first 12 months since moving into the Maritime Knowledge Hub.

The trade representative body for the maritime and related industry sectors across the Liverpool city region set up its office within the newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, Wirral, in June 2016, and has seen an increasingly busy stream of visitors pass through its doors.

Mersey Maritime Chief Executive Chris Shirling-Rooke said the pace of activity within the Hub had already far exceeded first year predictions, and bore out a real demand for the facility.

He said: “Moving into our own premises was always the aim. We knew from consultation with our 200 plus members and public sector partners that demand for a central resource of this type was definitely there, but what we didn’t predict was how much of a catalyst for growth it would turn out to be.

“The Hub provides a very visual representation of who we are and the work we’ve been doing for the past 14 years. It has allowed us to expand the range of services Mersey Maritime offers to the sector and have the space to make them happen. Since January alone, we’ve organised over 41 business events and seen almost 2000 people come through our doors, which has more than doubled what we were doing the previous year.

“We are also supporting fast growth small and medium sized [SME] businesses by providing office space and tailored business support, all of which is contributing towards making our sector great again. By anyone’s standards I think that can be measured as success.”

He added: “What’s really interesting is how the maritime industry has responded. Mersey Maritime is and always will be industry-focused, which means that everything we do is directed towards sectoral growth and the creation of jobs. The businesses we work with recognise and respond to that. They see Mersey Maritime as the facilitator, the vehicle that brings our sector’s many disparate elements together and gives them a single voice, with the Maritime Knowledge Hub as the embodiment of that vision.”

Located directly on the busy A41 leading in and out of Liverpool city centre via the Birkenhead Tunnel, the Maritime Knowledge Hub is a collaboration between Mersey Maritime and partners including Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Wirral Council. It provides a central resource to the maritime industry and related sectors such as energy, manufacturing and offshore oil and gas, for knowledge sharing, research and innovation, training and skills.

World leading simulator-based training suites housed on the top floor of the Knowledge Hub are complemented by a busy programme of business network forums, high-level meetings and workshops designed to engage industry and help build strong local supply chains.

Mersey Maritime signed a partnership agreement LJMU in 2015, which marked an important step forward in Mersey Maritime’s evolution,

“The LJMU partnership and our joint occupation of the Maritime Knowledge Hub has brought industry and academia together in a way that directly benefits the sector in and around Liverpool. Employers recognise the need to upskill the workforce and to recruit the best young minds into the maritime sector so that we can continue to promote Liverpool as world class centre of excellence.

“Our role at Mersey Maritime is to acts as a conduit between these two helping to drive the innovation agenda forward from an academic perspective and, from the employers’ perspective ensuring it has direct relevance and application to ground level operations.

“The Liverpool cluster is upheld as a benchmark for good practice in clustering. We are proud to be one of the strongest and most successful maritime clusters in Europe,” added Mr Shirling-Rooke.


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Image shows: Chris Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive, Mersey Maritime.



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