Maritime UK Publishes Covid Recovery Plan

The UK is one of the world’s leading maritime nations, and maritime is one of the driving forces of the British economy. That the sector bears unique responsibility for enabling imports and exports to our island nation has been clear as our key workers have kept this country supplied with food, energy, and medical supplies during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The maritime sector contributes £46.1bn in GVA and supports over 1.1 million jobs. Serving the rest of the British economy by enabling 95% of all UK trade, this sector is particularly exposed to macroeconomic shocks and responsive to the performance of the wider economy. With reduced imports and exports, the maritime supply chain has been severely hit.

Some of the most crippling effects on the sector have been seen in the passenger transport industries (such as ferries and cruises), as well as those involved in participatory leisure activities like boating, where current government regulations have made business as usual impossible.

Manufacturers have seen their orders dry up and supply chains disrupted. The UK’s world-class education and training establishments too have been unable to function properly.

Taken together, therefore, all parts of the maritime sector have faced significant difficulty.

With maritime making a foremost contribution to the socioeconomic wellbeing of coastal communities – given the location of many maritime businesses – these impacts have contributed to our coastal towns and cities being hit hardest during the pandemic.

It is vital that government and industry work together to get all parts of the sector back on their feet and operating as soon as possible. Doing so will not only benefit one of Britain’s largest industrial sectors but particularly the coastal communities in which maritime supports significant economic activity.

Whilst some parts of the sector are getting back to business, others will be unable to do so for a substantial period of time, either due to compliance with government policy or due to the seasonality of the trade. Indeed, some parts of the sector are only now entering their most depressed period.

We are committed to working with government to ensure the viability and profitability of our businesses as we move through the crisis. Such a significant economic shock to the economy will, however, require deep thinking about what has changed, how we adapt, and respond. It is also a moment to think about the kind of country and economy that we want to build, rather than simply rebuilding what we had before.  That, coupled with the major grand challenges our sector faces, presents us with choices.

The maritime sector is well-placed to drive a green,  regionally balanced, export-led recovery, and this Sector Recovery Plan sets out actions for both industry and government to get us there.

With every challenge comes opportunity, and it is the intention of the maritime sector to grasp that opportunity.