Watch: Transport Secretary urges shipping to feed into 'radical' Maritime 2050 vision

Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, used his speech at the UK Chamber of Shipping’s Annual Dinner on Monday to contribute to a “radical” vision that will support and propel the nation’s maritime industry well into the future.

“We need a clear path for the future, we need a strong partnership between this industry and government – and we’re calling it Maritime 2050,” he said of the concept, which was launched in September at London International Shipping Week. 

“Maritime 2050 is going to be a blueprint that will harness our strengths as a nation, that will help us understand how we reach our full potential, and how we demonstrate our ambition to be a world maritime leader,” Grayling said. 

“This is the opportunity for us to position the industry to meet the challenges ahead, and to create a sustainable long-term future for UK maritime.”

The Government will engage with existing industry bodies and businesses, and will soon publish a call for evidence that will provide a framework for engagement, Grayling said. An expert panel will be appointed, consisting of “people who are probably sitting in this room today,” he told the dinner.

"We’re going to challenge ourselves to think differently and radically, taking views from outside the sector talking to the industries that use our services, and through that independent advisory panel, we will work to shape the right strategy for the future of an industry that is of fundamental importance to our country.”

Trade; technology, infrastructure, the environment, skills, safety and regulation, security and resilience have all been identified as key areas around which the Maritime 2050 strategy should be based.  

Grayling assured the dinner that the Government will secure a Brexit deal that keeps trade with the EU “as frictionless as possible”. The shipping industry, he said, would be an important part of the UK’s future success after leaving the European Union. 

The transport secretary also used his speech to recognise the contribution of UK seafarers to the nation's economy, and the Royal Navy’s role in maintaining maritime security and protecting world trade.

Grayling said the UK needs to drastically increase the number of young people choosing a career at sea, if the nation’s maritime sector is to have the skilled workforce it will need in the future.

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Holly Birkett

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