Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Next steps for the UK maritime sector

Morning, Thursday, 28th March 2024

This conference focuses on the way forward for the UK’s maritime and shipping sector.

It follows the Government’s response to the Transport Committee’s report on the progress and next steps for Maritime 2050, including the establishment of the new Maritime Council, the UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub and wider strategies for decarbonising the sector.

The seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to examine key issues for growing and futureproofing the sector, including next steps for UK trade and competitive positioning, boosting innovation and assessing implications of AI on the sector, and moving toward decarbonisation pathways by 2050 in line with government net zero objectives.

Further sessions will assess priorities for supporting coastal communities and the seafarer workforce, as well as bolstering collaborative structures and developing clarity and coherence in the direction of policy. There will also be discussion on alternative priorities for the industry, including the opposition’s policy proposals.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Mike Kane MP, Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime; Dr Eamonn Beirne, Deputy Director, UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, Maritime Directorate, Department for Transport; and Professor Tony Roskilly, Director, UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • maritime strategy: next steps - developing policy clarity - assessing both the Transport Committee’s recommendations and the Government’s response
  • Maritime 2050: the proposals and government response - outstanding issues for implementation - the roles of the Maritime Council and the UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub
  • decarbonisation: the Clean Maritime Plan - assessing progress and strategic options - addressing challenges - coordination on achieving environmental and economic benefits of decarbonisation
  • port and coastal communities: policy priorities - regeneration - realising the potential of Freeports and decarbonisation in helping to deliver social and economic benefits to coastal communities
  • maritime workforce: addressing downward trends in seafarer numbers - improving perceptions of the industry - protecting welfare - increasing use of new technologies in training
  • trade and competitiveness: growing the ship register - implementing and scaling-up new technology - commercialisation and rollout of smart shipping and autonomous vessels - the impact of global issues such as the Red Sea attacks on UK trade and the maritime sector
  • innovation: R&D priorities - potential of AI for improving sustainability, efficiency, forecasting and mapping - regulatory agility to support responsible innovation, safety and growth
  • sector resilience: securing the supply chain - creating sustainable plans for responses to threats and global events - learning from the sector’s ability to remain strong throughout the pandemic
  • alternative plans for the maritime sector: Labour’s proposal for the UK maritime sector - investment in ports and regional clusters - priorities for clean power and transitioning to renewables

opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from MCA; MMO; DfT; Defra; DAERA, NI; DBT; DESNZ; DSIT; EA; GLD; HMRC; Home Office; OEP; Isle of Man Government; and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Eamonn Beirne

Deputy Director, UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, Maritime Directorate, Department for Transport

Keynote Speakers

Dr Eamonn Beirne

Deputy Director, UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, Maritime Directorate, Department for Transport

Professor Tony Roskilly

Director, UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub

Mike Kane MP

Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime, House of Commons


Marlene Mitchell

Commercial Manager, Port of Aberdeen

Katrina Ross

Policy Director, Commercial and Governance, UK Chamber of Shipping

Stuart Baker

Managing Director, Maritime UK Solent

Jonathan Hood

UK Sustainable Shipping Manager, Transport & Environment

Martyn Gray

Director of Organising, Nautilus International