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

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime Launches 5th Annual Industry Awards

Mersey Maritime has launched their fifth annual industry awards and is calling for maritime and logistics businesses across the Northern Powerhouse to start preparing their entries for the 2019 awards.  

The Mersey Maritime Industry Awards, have established an incredible reputation as one of the leading maritime award events in the UK, which celebrates the achievements of the industry’s most outstanding companies and performers. The applications are open to any maritime or maritime related organisations, businesses and individuals across the Northern Powerhouse and Isle of Man.

The Awards

The awards will take place on 14th March 2019, in the stunning Titanic Hotel in Liverpool and are already fully sponsored; including diamond sponsors Beech Group, Peel Ports, Stellamar and Western Union. The event will be hosted by BBC Breakfast Presenter Louise Minchin and it is expected that 2019 will be the biggest yet with more than 450 industry professionals in attendance.

The Application Process 

Entries for the Mersey Maritime Industrial Awards 2019 are now open, and you can submit your entry via the Mersey Maritime website. There are 13 award categories including Business of the Year, Rising Star and Innovation awards. The closing date for submitting award entries is midday Friday 14th December 2018, every application received is assessed by Mersey Maritime’s prestigious industry judging panel, who select the finalists for each category. The winner of each category will this year be determined by the industry itself, with an industry voting platform launching in February 2019.

Mersey Maritime CEO Chris Shirling-Rooke said “the industry vote is all about creating even more opportunities to showcase the fantastic innovation, growth and positive impacts happening across the Northern Powerhouse. We want everyone to feel involved in championing the region. There is already a great sense of comradery at the awards evening and we hope to shine a spotlight on this throughout the voting process”

To view the award categories, download an application pack or buy tickets/tables, please visit Mersey Maritime’s website.

By Mersey Maritime

Steve Rotheram updates Mersey Maritime Members of his ‘ambitious plans’ for the Region

Photo Credit: Al Disley Images 

Liverpool City Region’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram delivered a presentation to Mersey Maritime members surrounding his ‘ambitious plans’ for the region.

Speaking at Mersey Maritime’s monthly ‘Face-2-Face,’ networking event Mr Rotheram discussed his plans for encouraging investment in the area, developing the skills to match, and positioning the Liverpool City Region as the digital gateway for the next industrial revolution.

Digital Gateway

With ultra-fast internet access by connecting the GTT fibre spine in Southport, to the Hartree super computer in Daresbury via a digital loop, the city region has the potential to be the digital gateway to the fourth industrial revolution. It is the Metro Mayor’s vision to link these incredible resources together to connect every business, school, university, hospital and home in the area, with the best connectivity speeds in the whole country.

These resources would also give the region the ability to work on ‘Big Data’ analytics, with the Metro Mayor urging attendees to consider the applications for the maritime sector.

‘One Front Door’

Drawing on models used in other regions, Mr Rotheram talked about his plans to establish ‘one front door,’ for investors wishing to capitalise on opportunities in the Liverpool City Region. This plan would create one complementary team to act as a central agency for marketing and inward investment for the whole of the Liverpool City Region.

Laying the foundations for this collaborative approach could enable the city region to benefit from more opportunities post-Brexit, with the Metro Mayor going on to acknowledge that Brexit could have a positive impact on the region’s maritime sector, particularly with opportunities in relation to transatlantic trade.


Just 33% of people across the Northern Powerhouse have a degree-level qualification, compared with 61% in London. The Liverpool City Region has the lowest levels of NVQ Level 3 achievement in the UK.

Discussing this with members, Mr Rotheram noted the importance of understanding the barriers for individuals face when trying to secure employment and break them down.

Since coming into post 18 months ago the Metro Mayor has established a £5m scheme to help households get back into work alongside other initiatives such as half price travel for apprentices.


By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime chief says Merseyside will benefit from new ‘golden era’ of trade with the US

Photo: Queen Mary 2nd rendezvous with HMS Queen Elizabeth, supplied by Cunard

Liverpool city region could benefit by more than £500m in extra trade and investment in a new “golden era” as the US and UK move closer to a post-Brexit trade deal.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of industry body Mersey Maritime has returned from a high-level trade delegation to New York, headed by the Secretary of State for the Department of International Trade, Dr Liam Fox.

They held a meeting aboard the UK’s new state-of-the-art aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, with representatives from New York Maritime (NYMAR) and a range of leading American lawyers, bankers, shipbrokers, insurers and technologists in the first meeting of the Maritime Nations Forum.

Mr Shirling-Rooke believes that because Liverpool is one of Europe’s main westerly-facing ports then the increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) and exports post-Brexit with the US could see an extra £500m coming into Merseyside within five years.

Trade deal

The venue for the summit, which also included senior representatives of Maritime UK and Peel Group, was of particular significance for Merseyside as the flight decks of the Royal Navy vessel were built at Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird.

Just days before the meeting, the US Government had formally confirmed it intends to pursue a trade deal with the UK “as soon as it is ready” after leaving the EU and Mr Shirling-Rooke said those at the meeting were keen to do business with Britain’s maritime sector.

“We are the major west-facing port and the all the business leaders we spoke to in the States were adamant they want to significantly increase the volume of trade between our two nations.

“We already trade more with the US than any other single nation on the planet, there is a total of $1 trillion investment between the two countries and more than 1m British nationals go to work for US companies every day.

“Peel Ports has invested in excess of  £1bn into Liverpool2 and the infrastructure along the Manchester Ship Canal to Port Salford, and is equipped to handle the world’s biggest cargo vessels. Liverpool city region has built the most successful maritime cluster in Europe with an annual GVA contribution of more than £4bn.

“We are ready and willing step up to take full advantage of a new golden era of increased transatlantic trade and investment – this will re-energise the special relationship between the UK and the US.”

Export market

The US is the largest export market for the UK, while as a supplier of goods and services to the UK, the US comes in second. For both imports and exports the UK is only behind the US’s immediate neighbours, Canada and Mexico.

This interconnectedness extends beyond goods and services, to include foreign direct investment (FDI). For Britain, the US is the largest single source of FDI, while the US is also the largest destination for FDI by British firms.

Equally, The UK is ranked second as a destination for American companies to invest, accounting for 13% of the total foreign investment by US companies.

By Mersey Maritime

International Trade Day – Trade Mission of British Maritime Leaders arrive in New York

Mersey Maritime are part of a UK delegation to discuss the future US/UK maritime trade relations

  • Secretary of State for the Department of International Trade, Dr. Liam Fox, joins British Maritime Leaders aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, for the inaugural ‘Maritime Nations Forum’ between the UK and US.
  • Delegation arrives as US administration formally confirmed it intends to pursue a trade deal with the UK “as soon as it is ready” after leaving the EU.

Mersey Maritime; the Liverpool City Regions promotional cluster for the maritime industry, is part of the UK delegation of business leaders from the maritime sector to arrive in New York today accompanied by the Secretary of State for the Department of International Trade, Dr. Liam Fox.

The British maritime leaders will meet with an American delegation aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth at the inaugural ‘Maritime Nations Forum’ between the UK and US.  The maritime delegation arrives at a pivotal time in the negotiations on the UK’s departure from the EU, following the US administration formally confirming its intent last week to pursue a trade deal with the UK “as soon as it is ready” after leaving the EU. The trade mission will explore opportunities for the UK to further strengthen its trading and investing relationship with the United States.

The UK maritime sector is the fundamental enabler of Britain’s global trade. The sector adds £37.4 billion to UK GDP and supports just under 1,000,000 jobs nationally, in the Liverpool City Region alone the sector contributes £3.5bn to the local economy and employs more than 28,000 people.

Liam Fox, Secretary of State for the Department of International Trade, said:

“The UK and US are steadfast maritime partners, symbolised by the presence of the HMS Queen Elizabeth in New York today.

“My international economic department will continue to work with Maritime UK to encourage investment into our maritime sector, whilst providing a wealth of export support for our hard-working British businesses.”

Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO Mersey Maritime, said:

“There are already well-established trade relationships between Liverpool and the US, but today symbolises the opportunity to further expand our transatlantic partnerships. I am delighted to be part of this critical delegation to the United States and represent the interests of the North West maritime industry alongside our members Peel Group and global members Western Union and Cxytera.

“Liverpool already handles over a third of the transatlantic container trade, but there is further potential with the development of the new container terminal; Liverpool2, at the Port of Liverpool, and we are exploring other UK/US investment opportunities to enhance and grow the maritime sector within the region”

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.

Mersey Maritime Launches 5th Annual Industry Awards
Steve Rotheram updates Mersey Maritime Members of his ‘ambitious plans’ for the Region
Mersey Maritime chief says Merseyside will benefit from new ‘golden era’ of trade with the US
International Trade Day – Trade Mission of British Maritime Leaders arrive in New York
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