Great Britain is an island nation that relies on shipping to secure energy, food, medicines and other primary necessities. Our world-famous products such as gin, whisky and the Mini, are also exported by sea, helping reduce transportation emissions by 95% compared to air shipping.

Shipping is at the heart of UK life, perhaps in ways that most people don't realise. The Value of Shipping report aims to shine a light on how shipping is helping deliver a green and prosperous UK. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Sarah Treseder, CEO, UK Chamber of Shipping

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Indispensable for moving people and goods in and out of the country, shipping makes the UK move.

Different ports in the UK will receive different goods or provide different services due to their diverse infrastructure. For instance, Aberdeen is the hub for the offshore market, whereas Milford Haven provides most of the UK's energy supply. Southhampton is the destination for cruises, oil, cars and container ships. Dover, instead, is the gateway for passenger traffic and road freight to Europe.

On the right-hand side is a snapshot of everything that went in and out of the country throughout 2022.

Our report is divided into six categories, each emphasising the benefits delivered by shipping.

Economy and Jobs


The shipping industry employs 61,000 people in the UK and supports 650,000 more in the wider economy. 

This is a breakdown of the impact of the shipping industry on jobs and the economy:

economy and jobs



Shipping is responsible for an astonishing 95% of goods entering our country safely each year. 

Below is what we import and export each year:

trade 1trade 2



Shipping is becoming always more a greener choice of travel, thanks to its investment in new vessels aimed at reducing carbon footprint. The shipping industry is a small contributor to GHG emissions, currently accounting for around 3% of total global CO2 emissions.

Visitors to the UK by ship contributed £100m to the economy in 2022 alone, with over 1.4m visitors stepping on British soil by cruise. 

Shipping Services


At the heart of the international shipping industry, the UK throughout the years has become a leader in the industry, providing expertise in ship insurance, financial, legal, chartering and consultancy services.

London hosts several high-profile maritime international bodies. For example, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Baltic Exchange and so much more.

Offshore Energy


The UK is the second-largest producer of offshore renewable energy in the world. Being a major exporter and importer of energy, the UK requires adequate ships that can transport it.

Below is a graph showing you how much growth we have seen in the construction of wind turbines and, therefore, in the offshore wind sector. This includes how many wind turbines are in the pipeline, ready to increase the capacity of the sector. This growth in offshore wind will mean the need for a 250% increase in vessels used to service offshore wind farms

Security and Defence


There are over 30,000 + people serving in the Royal Navy, providing search and rescue capability.

The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxilary are two important government bodies which are vital to our nation for guaranteeing peace, maintaining stability and safety, and avoiding conflicts.