UK Chamber’s new President says national maritime strategy vital for jobs and growth


Kenneth MacLeod, Chairman of Stena Line (UK) Ltd, became President of the UK Chamber of Shipping today, and called on Government to seize the opportunity to use shipping as a conduit for economic growth. In his accession speech, the new president said:

“When the national economy continues to struggle, when we are faced with unprecedented challenges both at home and abroad and when we know we can deliver prosperity for Britain, the maritime voice simply cannot afford to be silent.”

“My single most important priority this year is to help implement the recommendation in the Heseltine Report that demands Government and industry work more closely than ever before.”

“Perhaps the greatest achievement of the UK Chamber and Maritime UK in the past year, has been to prepare the ground for a ministerial-level, inter-departmental national maritime strategy. Our task this year – with government and our industry partners – is to deliver it.”

The speech also highlighted challenges posed by potential Scottish independence, and uncertainty around the EU. Kenneth MacLeod cited the 300,000 jobs supported by the UK shipping industry and its £12.5 billion economic contribution as justification for being vocal on the sector’s behalf on these big issues.

The incoming President also highlighted specific policy concerns of members, pledging support for campaigns around damaging sulphur regulations, piracy and red tape burdens, amongst others. Marcus Bowman, of Holman Fenwick Willan, will work alongside Kenneth as Vice President from today.

As a fifth generation seafarer, Kenneth MacLeod started his career as a junior rating before working his way up to Managing Director of Northern Marine and a Commissioner of the Northern Lighthouse Board, before his current roles as Chairman of Stena and Director of CMAL, the Scottish government’s ferry owning company. Reflecting on these roots, he expressed a particular commitment to protect training opportunities in the industry:

“Although today one million young people are unemployed in this country, we are an industry that is creating jobs – and I want to ensure others have the opportunities I had, so that some kid scrubbing pots in a ship galley today could one day lead the UK Chamber of Shipping in decades to come.”

Kenneth takes over the post from Helen Deeble CBE, who has led the UK Chamber through a year of enormous change. Ken praised “the massive contribution made” and congratulated Helen on her accomplishments.

Helen ended her term as the first female President of the UK Chamber with the launch of the Annual Review 2012-13, unveiling a bold redesign reflecting the organisation’s forward-looking approach.

Marcus Bowman, Partner at Holman Fenwick Willan – who became Vice-President today – is a specialist in marine litigation and claims, and the firm’s former Global Head of Shipping.

UK Chamber Director-General Mark Brownrigg said:
“I’m delighted that Ken MacLeod has been elected President and look forward to seeing him lead the team over the coming year, supported by Marcus Bowman.

Ken has been a wise and motivated Vice-President throughout the past year and we are have full confidence in his determination to help drive the implementation of our shared goal - a cross-party, ministerial level, national maritime strategy.”


For further information please contact Gemma Wilkie, PR Manager at the UK Chamber of Shipping on 020 7417 2834 or

Kenneth MacLeod’s inaugural speech can be read in full as a PDF.

Images of the AGM can be downloaded from the UK Chamber's Flickr page.

View a turning pages version of the UK Chamber’s Annual Review 2012-13 or visit our Publications section.

Notes to Editors

  • The UK Chamber of Shipping is the trade association for the UK shipping industry, working to promote and protect the interests of its members both nationally and internationally. With around 140 members from across the maritime sector, the UK Chamber represents over 925 ships of about 30 million gross tons and is recognised as the voice of the UK shipping industry. 
  • UK shipping has a turnover of over £11bn. With indirect effects, UK shipping’s contribution to UK GDP is £13bn.
  • The UK Chamber is the home of the Merchant Navy Training Board - the shipping industry’s central body for promoting and developing seafarer education, training and skills, and provides MNTB administration and staffing arrangements.
  • The UK Chamber is a member of Maritime UK, which brings together the major associations representing the UK’s the shipping, ports and maritime business services sectors. 
  • The UK Chamber is a lead partner in Sea Vision, the nationwide campaign working to raise awareness of the sea and the maritime sector, particularly amongst young people aged between 13 and 22 years old.