- Maritime Knowledge Hub will support training, enterprise and manufacturing
- Investment in the facility of c£15m to help UK gain greater share of £3000bn maritime industries market
UK Shipping Minister Robert Goodwill MP has formally opened the first phase of the new Maritime Knowledge Hub in Wirral. Operated jointly by sector development organisation Mersey Maritime and Liverpool John Moores University, the new facility will be a global centre of excellence within the UK, generating knowledge-led growth and innovation.
First revealed at an event in London Shipping Week last year, the Maritime Knowledge Hub will bring together the Liverpool City region’s key maritime assets, creating a focal point for innovation, research & development, education & training and business support. The Hub will ultimately include serviced business start-up space and support, an offshore survival centre and marine simulation centre, and a state-of-the-art facility to help manufacturers design, test and build products or services.
Shipping Minister Robert Goodwill said: “I am delighted to have opened the first phase of this new state-of-the-art hub which will help create skilled maritime jobs on Merseyside. This partnership between private, public and academic organisations is key to ensuring that our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs are ready to succeed. Merseyside has a rich maritime history and the future is looking bright thanks to major projects such as the Maritime Knowledge Hub and the deep water container terminal Liverpool2 at the Port of Liverpool. The Government will continue to offer its full support to the maritime industry, a sector which is vitally important to the UK economy.”
The marine and maritime sectors are growing and there is a strong opportunity for the UK to capture an increased share of the global market valued at more than £3000 billion. The UK is currently ranked sixth with some 38,000 companies generating over £102bn of sales. Within the Liverpool City Region, the sector generates around £3.5bn of sales and contributes to 12% of the region’s GDP. Over £947m (27%) of these sales are exported making the sector a key element in re-balancing the economy. The region has one of the largest clusters of maritime businesses and supply chains in Europe spanning some 1,300 businesses.
The Hub is being driven by a partnership which includes Mersey Maritime, Liverpool John Moores University, Wirral Council and Peel Group and is supported by the LCR Local Enterprise Partnership.
Chris-Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime, said: “This is more than just providing the right conditions for innovation, knowledge sharing and skills development, it’s about providing the very best environment there is. We already have a strong base of industries clustered around the port but more needs to be done and our approach is influenced by successful models in countries such as Norway and Singapore.”
Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at LJMU, said: “The scale of the opportunity for our region is massive but we do have a skills gap. It’s essential to develop the talent that local firms and wider industry need to grow and compete, and the Knowledge Hub will help deliver that.”
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “Since Bidston Observatory was built 150 years ago, Wirral has been at the heart of Merseyside and NW England’s shipping and maritime story. So I welcome the next generation Maritime Knowledge Hub being built here on Wirral. This state-of-the-art facility is part of the Wirral Growth Plan strategy to improve the local economy and attract inward investment, and I look forward to it offering new maritime skills development, knowledge-sharing, and supporting further jobs and growth.”
The Minister also visited the site of the new Liverpool2 container terminal. Peel Ports’ Chief Operating Officer, Gary Hodgson, “The Port of Liverpool is already a focal point for many of the strengths and opportunities that the region can offer, so it makes sense to build on that by locating the Knowledge Hub by the Mersey. We have an enviable range of industries, innovators and entrepreneurs in the area so by working together we can make Liverpool one of the world’s leading centres for maritime expertise.”