"Noone should be afraid of the future, Transport Secretary tells UK Chamber

The UK Chamber of Shipping’s Annual Dinner returned to the Park Lane Hilton in London once again on 4th February.

Around 800 influential guests from across the industry gathered to eat, drink and network at the black-tie event, which is one of the premier evenings in the UK shipping calendar.

The night’s keynote speech was delivered by Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, who praised the collaborative work between industry and Government that has produced the recently published Maritime 2050 plan. 

“Nobody in the UK maritime sector should be afraid of what the future holds,” Grayling said in his speech. 

The Secretary of State said he wants the UK to be a thought-leader and innovator by 2050, and to make the best of what new technology can offer

In the meantime, enhancing skills and bringing young people into the industry are high on the Government’s list of priorities for maritime, Grayling said.  

This will be done through the SMarT Plus policy, which will more than double the annual intake of cadets by 2030; apprenticeships and through initiatives to increase the number of ratings trainees, the Secretary said. 

The Government sees safety as a top priority for the immediate future, which will be supported by this growing, highly skilled workforce.

“Maintaining safety is going to be absolutely critical if we are to maintain our place as a maritime leader,” Grayling said.

Sir Michael Bibby, president of the UK Chamber, also delivered a speech at the Annual Dinner, in which he called on the UK government end its in-fighting over Brexit and focus on getting the best deal for British businesses.

He also called for the successful UK tonnage tax regime to be broadened out to include a wider variety of shipowners, operators and managers. 

Its election windows, he said, should also be lengthened to ensure every company has a chance to join.

The Annual Dinner was sponsored by the UK Ship Register (Gold), Clyde Training Solutions (Silver) and Lloyd's Register (President's Reception).