Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport and the UK Shipping Minister, has been announced as the guest of honour at the 2016 Mersey Maritime Industry Awards (MMIAs).
The awards, which celebrate the excellence and diversity that exists across all sectors of the maritime community in the North West, are in their second year following a successful inaugural event in 2015.
The winners of the awards will be announced this week in the presence of the Minister at a prestigious black tie dinner at Wallasey Town Hall, Wirral, on March 10.
Finalists in the nine award categories were announced earlier this month. They are:
Business of the Year (sponsored by Peel Group)
SME of the Year (sponsored by Cammell Laird)
Brookes Bell Group
Complete Site Safety
Engineering Company of the Year (sponsored by LJMU)
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC)
Innovation (sponsored by The Environmental Network)
DWF LLP Marine, Trade and Energy & Regulatory team
Peel Ports Group
Freight & Logistics Award (sponsored by Brabners LLP)
Lombard Shipping & Forwarding
Quality Freight (UK)
Best Newcomer (sponsored by Brookes Bell)
Geo Data Systems
Global Reach Award (sponsored by NatWest)
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC)
Isle of Man Ship Registry
Maritime Professional Services Award (sponsored by Tilney BestInvest)
Merchant Navy Resources Ltd
Rising Star Award (sponsored by MECNW)
Paula Crosby – Hughes Sub Surface Engineering
Rob Griffiths – Cammell Laird
Lauren Caldwell – Armitt Group
The recipient of a tenth award, the Jim Teasdale Award for Maritime Ambassador, to be chosen by the judges, will also be announced on the night.
Shipping Minister Mr Goodwill said: “The Mersey Maritime Industry Awards are a great opportunity to recognise some of the fantastic people and companies we have in the shipping industry. This award is sponsored by Liverpool Football Club.
“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 and together we can continue to grow.”
Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO of Mersey Maritime, said Mersey Maritime was delighted to have secured the presence of the UK Shipping Minister at the MMIAs.
He said: “Mersey Maritime enjoys strong links with the Department for Transport and we’re delighted that Mr Goodwill will be spending the best part of two days with us on Merseyside, including attending the awards.
“The Minister’s visit to some of the key maritime sector projects in and around Liverpool will allow him to gain a real sense of the pace of positive change that is happening here, providing rocket fuel for the Northern Powerhouse agenda.”
Mr Goodwill will visit some of the major projects in the region that are highlighting the Liverpool City Region’s return to prominence as a world class centre for maritime operations.
He will officially open phase one of the £30million project Maritime Knowledge Hub (MKH), which is already up and running in Birkenhead, Wirral. The project is an innovative collaboration between private and public sector partners Mersey Maritime, Liverpool John Moores University, Peel Group and Wirral Council to establish a UK hub for maritime sector research and development, innovation, education and training and business support. The project is currently pending approval to move forward with the redevelopment of phase two, a landmark, Grade 2 listed building – the Peel-owned Hydraulic Tower – within the huge Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone.
The Minister will also visit Liverpool2, the new £300 million deep water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool, which is due to commence operations in a phased opening during 2016.
He will conclude his visit with a tour of the world famous Cammell Laird shipyard, which beat off international competition at the end of last year to build a £200 million polar research vessel for NERC.
The MMIAs are organised by sector representative body Mersey Maritime, which represents a sector of more than 1700 businesses employing 28,000 people.
Sponsors of the MMIAs are Brabners LLP, Liverpool John Moores University and Peel Ports Group.