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

By Mersey Maritime

Ex-forces personnel can fill the maritime skills gap, says Mersey Maritime CEO

Industry body Mersey Maritime says ex-service personnel could be crucial in solving the local maritime sector’s skills shortage over the next few years.

The Wirral based organisation, which represents hundreds of maritime businesses across Liverpool city region including Peel Ports, Atlantic Container Line (ACL), Royal Haskoning DHV and Bibby Group, has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, committing to helping ex-services personnel.

First Sea Lord

Chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke signed the Covenant with Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, at a high-level industry dinner hosted by Mersey Maritime to celebrate the First Sea Lord visiting Liverpool. Admiral Sir Philip Jones has been the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff for over two years and spoke to the guests about his role and responsibilities within the Naval Services and broader Armed Forces.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC said: “Mersey Maritime’s work facilitating engagement, addressing skills shortages and communicating the maritime case to a broad audience provides a real boost to businesses and organisations across the North West who share a common interest in the maritime domain.

“I’m delighted that Mersey Maritime have publicly expressed their support for our servicemen and women by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. By tapping into the broad skills base and experience of our service leavers the maritime community stands to benefit as much as our people, so many of whom call Merseyside home.”

The signing of the Covenant was also witnessed by Commodore Philip Waterhouse, Naval Regional Commander Northern England and Isle of Man, and Geoff Nuzum, regional employer engagement North West RFCA. The dinner was attended by Mersey Maritime members and sponsored by MAS Optimisation, who are a lean management consultancy that also run a programme providing a link between industry and former services personnel.

Significant growth

Liverpool city region’s maritime sector is worth almost £4bn annually and employs more than 28,000 people. The sector is predicting significant growth over the next decade and will need thousands more skilled people.

Mr Shirling-Rooke said: “People in the Army, Navy and Air Force are trained in a whole range of skills during their period of service to their country. Many of those skills, particularly in area such as engineering, logistics and people management, are the kinds of skills our members are crying out for.

“We would urge all our members and businesses across the local maritime sector to consider signing the Covenant and supporting our armed forces”

Vital support

Already supported by 407 local authorities across the UK, the Covenant focuses on helping members of the armed forces community have the same access to Government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.

This support is provided in a number of areas including education and family well-being; having a home; starting a new career; access to healthcare; financial assistance; discounted services.

Mersey Maritime’s signing of the Covenant comes just weeks after it also signed up to the Women in Maritime Charter, which aims to increase the number of women at all levels in the maritime sector.

Mr Shirling-Rooke added: “Our maritime sector is going to need many more people over the next few years. It makes perfect business sense to cast its net as wide as possible when it comes to recruitment.”

Photographs by Al Disley Images 

By Mersey Maritime

Exporting boosts productivity, delegates at trade event are told

UK companies that trade overseas can see their productivity rise by up to 34%, a major export event hosted at Mersey Maritime’s headquarters was told.

The Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead was the venue for the latest instalment of the Institute of Export and International Trade’s World Trade Summit programme, which saw speakers share their knowledge and experiences of international trade.

Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar revealed the Government data that linked productivity to exporting in a speech described as “inspiring” by the institute. Cllr Millar drew on his long career selling businesses overseas, and also promoting Liverpool and the UK to the world.

Global opportunities

Among the many intriguing stories he related from his exporting past, was how an introduction of colour to typically mundane products such stair edgings and door handles earned him significant contracts with corporate giants, including fast food chain McDonalds.

His point about more companies needing to look at the opportunities that export brings was echoed by Luke Fitzsimmons of Bibby Financial Services and Chris Manka  from the Federation of Small Businesses, both of whom advocated the strength of ‘Brand Britain’ as a key asset for UK businesses when selling overseas.

Power of clusters

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke also addressed the delegates on the power of maritime clusters. Liverpool city region has now established itself as the most successful maritime cluster in the UK, with an annual GVA contribution of almost £4bn.

He outlined how the cluster model was a powerful tool in facilitating and increasing international trade and spoke of the local support provided by Mersey Maritime through the clustering of academic institutes and local government to provide support that isn’t driven by private interests, but by the need to grow local economies and jobs.

The discussion was chaired by Lesley Batchelor, director general of the Institute of Export and International Trade, who emphasised that exporting takes time and it needs to be done properly if companies don’t want to make costly mistakes.

She repeated the presentation she has made throughout this year’s programme calling for businesses to learn the skills of export – especially with Brexit coming up so fast.

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime takes the lead in national Women in Maritime campagin

Mersey Maritime is spearheading a national campaign to increase the number of women in the industry.

The Women in Maritime Charter

The Women in Maritime initiative was set up by Maritime UK, and Mersey Maritime are part of the Taskforce that is addressing the lack of gender diversity in the UK maritime sector.

This week saw the launch of a Charter, which creates a framework to challenge companies to make progress on diversity and will be supported by a suite of ‘toolkits’ or resources to help companies realise those targets. Companies joining the Women in Maritime Charter will be required to agree an ‘action plan’, setting out individual targets for each participating company.

Since Maritime UK’s Women in Maritime Taskforce called for companies to engage in its work, over 60 companies have signed a pledge designed to signal intent on gender diversity, including local businesses Peel Ports Group, CMA CGM and Complete Training Solutions. Having consulted those companies on the design of the Charter, the Taskforce is now calling for Charter ‘pilots’ to come forward and agree their action plans.

The Northern Charter Launch

Yesterday Mersey Maritime hosted the Northern Launch of the Charter at Liverpool Town Hall for 80 delegates. The event was opened by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson; a former seafarer himself, Joe signed the pledge and spoke about the importance of maritime and the River Mersey to the region: “This magnificent river runs through our city region and it runs through our veins…we have to demand more equality in the sector and encourage women to be part of the maritime community”.

The Launch celebrated the thriving maritime industry within Liverpool City Region which contributes over £3.5bn to the region’s economy and employs over 28,000 people, hearing the career journeys of three women within the industry; Angie Redhead, Head of City Assets at Liverpool City Council, Ruth Wood, Commercial Manager at Mersey Maritime and Kirsten Blood, Quality Assurance Inspector at Cammell Laird, the purpose being to try and breakdown some of the misconceptions about the industry.

There was also a panel discussion about the charter, represented by Julia Bradley, Sales and Marketing Director at Peel Ports Group, Kathryn Nielson, Director at Merchant Navy Training Board, Helen Kelly, European Editor in Chief at Lloyds List and Tom Powell, Managing Director at Complete Training Solutions.

Julia Bradley said, “There is a fallacy that maritime is dark and archaic but we want to highlight that it is actually very technology led”.

A key focus of the discussion was the importance of education and demystifying the maritime industry from a young age, Kathryn Nielson said “If this campaign is to succeed then it requires a huge cultural change – we need to start with the younger generation and capture the hearts and minds of 8-10-year olds, before they develop any preconceived ideas about male and female work roles”

The event was closed by Sue Terpilowski, Chair of the Women in Maritime Taskforce who told the attendees: “The world is changing and this campaign represents a golden opportunity for the maritime sector. Please get involved because if we are united, we can get this done”.

Government backing

The Women in Maritime Taskforce has the support of the Department for Transport and Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP who said: “Our maritime sector keeps Britain thriving, but it’s missing out on a wealth of talent. No industry is a closed shop and there are simply too few women working in rewarding maritime careers, both at sea and on shore. It’s great to now see a real drive from companies wanting to attract women into roles, from captains and chief engineers at sea, to senior executives on shore, which will in turn help unlock the potential of their businesses.”

To find out more about the Women in Maritime Charter please contact

By Mersey Maritime

Merseyside takes the lead plan to build huge floating wind farm in the Atlantic

Merseyside firms could take the lead on a multi-billion pound project to create huge windfarms out in the Atlantic – with floating turbines each taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Industry body Mersey Maritime and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) are both key players in the EU-funded ARCWIND – a £3.5bn project to assess feasibility of the next generation of wind power.

Countries such as Denmark and Germany were the early pioneers of wind power but there is now a considerable well of expertise in the UK, and particularly in the Liverpool city region with one of the world’s biggest wind farms located in Liverpool Bay.

Burbo Bank

Burbo Bank, off Merseyside coast, was opened in 2007 and comprised 25 3.6MW turbines and, last year, the Burbo Bank extension was opened, comprising a further 32 8MW turbines. The wind farm can generate enough electricity to power 310,000 homes.

Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted operates the wind farm from its permanent facility in Birkenhead and the development and the ongoing maintenance of the turbines has involved firms across the Liverpool city region.

That know-how could be crucial in the development of the ARCWIND turbines, each one with a generating capacity of 10MW and attached to floating platforms, as opposed to the fixed seabed bases at Burbo Bank. They would take advantage of stronger winds further out to sea.

Economic feasibility

Dr Musa Bashir, a senior lecturer in marine and offshore engineering in LJMU’s Department of Maritime and Mechanical Engineering, is taking part in the research project which lasts until 2020 and involves several European countries.

He said: “We are looking at floating wind farms and making realistic assessments of production, costs and economic feasibility, taking into account logistics, maintenance planning and risk assessment.

“The heights of the turbines we are looking at are between 180 metres and 220 metres from mean sea level. This means that they are higher than the Statue of Liberty at 93m but lower than the Eiffel tower at 324m”.

Falling subsidies

Wind power has required significant Government subsidy until now but, with turbines becoming bigger and more efficient all the time, that cost of that subsidy has dropped and the offshore wind sector claims that process is set to accelerate.

Mersey Maritime chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, added: “Liverpool city region’s £4bn maritime industry contains world class expertise across a number of sectors – offshore wind being a great example of that.

“Energy security is a key issue for the UK now and over the coming decades. Offshore wind is coming of age in terms of efficiency and economic viability. It has the potential to create thousands of new jobs an we want to ensure Liverpool city region takes the lead and gains maximum benefit.”

By Mersey Maritime

Former service people can fill the skills gap, says leading consultant

There are around 150,000 ex-service men and women across the UK seeking work and they could provide the solution to the chronic skills shortage in many industries.

That was the message from Roger Jones of Mersey Maritime member MAS Consulting who is looking to help retrain former service personnel to adapt the valuable skills they already possess for use on “civvy street”.


Royal Air Force

Roger was addressing the August breakfast Face2Face networking event at Mersey Maritime in Birkenhead. He worked in the Royal Air Force for 31 years as a logistic manager helping manage logistics and transport hubs in the UK and around the world.

Towards the end of his time in the RAF he was also a manager in the continuous improvement team responsible for training and ongoing development at RAF bases.

Now, via MAS, he delivers continuous improvement programmes for automotive clients such as Jaguar Land Rover and BMW. He has also worked with toymaker LEGO in Denmark.

Valuable skills

And it is through a programme called Mettle that he wants to offer a link between industry and former service personnel who are keen to offer their transferrable skills to companies of all descriptions.

“Ex-service people have an inherent skill set but don’t always have the specific skills and qualifications they need to work on civvy street,” he told fellow members at the Face2Face.

“In many cases they possess hugely valuable skills – they are leaders, managers problem-solvers. We are going to be asking members at Mersey Maritime to offer people opportunities or work experience and help us upskill people.”

Global businesses

Also speaking at the Face-2-Face was Debbie Simpkins from InXpress and Neil McNeil from Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.

InXpress is a global franchise operation specialising in shipping and logistics. It works with major carriers such as DHL, with which it has a partnership, and UPS and FedEx, to transport items of all shapes and sizes via air, sea and road.

Local customers include Everton Football Club and Royal HaskoningDHV, also a member of Mersey Maritime. Debbie said: “We ship goods across the globe and we operate from 90 franchise offices in the UK.”

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is a family-owned German company with a history stretching back 150 years. Neil oversees both the Isle of Man and Newcastle offices with a combined workforce of 100 people.

The company is multifaceted global maritime services business. It owns or co-owns around 90 commercial vessels, including 50 container ships and offers many other services including global supply and movement of crew, as well as training, shipbuilding and conversion, hospitality, insurance and recycling.

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 

Ex-forces personnel can fill the maritime skills gap, says Mersey Maritime CEO
Exporting boosts productivity, delegates at trade event are told
Mersey Maritime takes the lead in national Women in Maritime campagin
Merseyside takes the lead plan to build huge floating wind farm in the Atlantic
Former service people can fill the skills gap, says leading consultant
Members urged to back the push to bring more women into maritime
Maritime industry takes steps to address ‘critical shortage’ of women in the sector
Mersey Maritime’s cluster approach can help create 4,000 new jobs
Liverpool ready to regain its status as the UK’s ‘gateway to the world’, Mersey Maritime chief to tell global audience
Best passenger figures since 2011 for Liverpool Airport in 2017
How innovative start-ups can transform the Mersey maritime sector
Connecting Ports & Innovation: Meet Rotterdam’s Port XL on January 15th