Blog: Developing UK maritime capability through regional clusters


Maritime UK, the collective voice for the UK’s maritime industry, is unifying all aspects of the maritime sector through its regional cluster programme. Having an overarching and united national industry voice has been extremely valuable in supporting over 1.1m jobs in 2019, driving innovation such as access to EU research programmes, Horizon 2020 and supporting trade, by representing maritime with the UK Government when external issues such as COVID-19 pandemic threaten.

As a country, we have been unimaginably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak has had an unexpected shock across all industries including the maritime sector. Whilst the nation navigates uncharted waters, we must look to our regional partners for support; at Royal HaskoningDHV, we have always understood the value of supporting our clients by blending a regional focus with national and International knowledge.

Regional collaboration, as shown by Maritime UK’s regional clusters, is a powerful tool in promoting businesses and developing new ideas. Since the pandemic, travel restrictions have allowed society to now, more than ever, rely on regional partners to identify innovations and keep the industry advancing. Sharing an understanding of the sector and collecting different perspectives is an excellent way to drive innovation in times of a crisis.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s mission is to Enhance Society Together and we recognise the importance of regional collaboration to help us achieve this. We want to share our services, working together to become part of the solution for a more sustainable society. As such, we are very supportive of Maritime UK in developing a regional cluster programme to facilitate more regional engagement, founded on well-established clusters like Mersey Maritime.

Since becoming Mersey Maritime Members, we have seen great value in forming new relationships with other members and presenting our capabilities at a number of face-to-face events. Members have recognised our capabilities and they have recommended us on several occasions for opportunities. We were also recognised by Mersey Maritime as Engineering Company of the Year in 2016 and 2018 with two of our colleagues being awarded the Mersey Maritimes Rising Star award. Recently, we engaged with this regional cluster to host a Hackathon event with the Port of Liverpool. We were able to bring together representatives of the supply chain such as engineering consultants and technology enablers to share their sector knowledge and identify development opportunities for the port. 

As established maritime sector leaders, Royal HaskoningDHV has always looked to share cross-regional best practice and provide added value to the industry. Our multidisciplinary professionals are located across 13 offices spanning all regions of the UK (as well as many countries around the world), each bringing a different approach and set of skills to our business model.

We will continue to increase our involvement and support to Maritime UK South West, Mersey Maritime as well as the British Ports Association and UK Major Ports Group to develop the industry for future generations. For the second successive year, we are proud sponsors of the Maritime UK Masters, a scheme to support students during their dissertations. We are also proud to be a partner in the Government’s first 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub in the North East.

Royal HaskoningDHV Associate Director Jamie Gray said, “Royal HaskoningDHV is a global company with 5,500 staff working in 150 countries, but we’ve been something of a ‘best kept secret’ in Liverpool. It is Mersey Maritime that has enabled us to be fully engaged in the Mersey cluster and create a strong regional identity”.

As we look to the future for our business, we hope to engage further with Maritime UK and its cluster organisations. We see continued benefits and challenging opportunities ahead of us and rely on their support to be the voice for our industry.

This is a guest post by RoyalHaskoningDHV, sponsors of the Maritime UK Regional Cluster Development programme and Maritime Masters programme.