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Transport Committee says government should invest in maritime tech, cleaner fuels and workforce

21 March 2023/Categories: Ports, Maritime & Waterways


The Transport Committee have published a report on the Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy, calling for investment in new technology, cleaner fuels and workforce training.

This sometimes-overlooked “Cinderella” sector is vital to the UK economy. Approximately 95 per cent of goods by weight come to the UK by ship, and the Department for Business and Trade predicts maritime cargo volumes will triple by 2050. The UK’s sector employs 185,000 people throughout the four nations and contributes £40 billion a year to the economy. 

The cross-party Committee’s new report critiques the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Maritime 2050 strategy, published in 2019. It was praised at the time for taking a decades-long view, which is critical when vessels and infrastructure vary between countries and are built with lifespans of 30 years. However, the strategy has since been criticised for lacking distinction between aspirations and actions to be taken. The Committee makes a number of recommendations on how to help both the sector and ministers achieve the strategy’s aims. 

Transport Committee Chair Iain Stewart said: 

“All the evidence we received about the UK’s maritime sector has shown it is resilient, entrepreneurial, and used to working independently from government. Nonetheless, there is an array of things government should do to support the sector and help it achieve its ambitions to decarbonise and remain a positive force on the world stage and for the UK economy. We commend the Government for being forward thinking in developing the Maritime 2050 strategy, but clarity and focus are needed to refine its muddle of 184 recommendations.  

“The sector will need sustained support to overcome the challenge of radically cutting carbon emissions. We urge ministers to bring forward the promised Clean Maritime Plan, which will give industry the certainty it needs to invest in technology, new vessels, infrastructure and low-carbon shore power. Without it, we will fall behind other countries and miss our net zero targets.

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