Merseyside’s powerhouse maritime sector has taken a lead role in a major Anglo-Dutch summit held in Liverpool to discuss opportunities for trade, collaboration and growth.
Industry body Mersey Maritime, along with Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports took part in the Maritime Nations Forum, organised by Maritime UK and the Netherlands Business Support Office. Royal HaskoningDHV and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) also took part.
More than 100 delegates attended including 30 Dutch companies and members of the Dutch Government.
And the overall message from the event was that the UK’s departure from the EU does not mean the UK is leaving Europe and the focus of the forum was how the British and Dutch maritime sectors can forge stronger ties post-Brexit.
Port innovation was high on the agenda and the discussion was chaired by Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association. Keynote speakers included Gert-Jan Nieuwenhuizen, managing director at the Port of Amsterdam and Andrew Byrne, managing Director at the Port of Immingham.
The forum saw delegates discussing the huge propensity for maritime trade and collaboration between both countries in spite of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and highlights how areas like Liverpool are taking practical steps toward positive trade relationships with the UK’s European neighbours.
Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK, said: “The first high-level Maritime Nations Forum between our two countries show a clear intent to strengthen relations and collaboration between our two maritime nations.
“At a time of great uncertainty for the UK as it leaves the EU, we should celebrate that business is getting on with its job – fostering innovation, driving exports and creating jobs. The UK is leaving the EU, not Europe. The event shows that British Industry is as keen as ever to build stronger links with our North Sea neighbour.”
Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke took part in a panel discussion on “port innovation culture of excellence” that also included ABP, the Port of Amsterdam and Maritime UK.
The forum was organised with Mersey Maritime and sponsored by Royal HaskoningDHV and Rotterdam Maritime Capital of Europe. The second Maritime Nations Forum will be held later in the year.