Regional Cluster Development Programme

Maritime UK, together with its partners, is responsible for the development and roll-out of an ambitious ‘Regional Cluster Development Programme’, an initiative embedded in the priorities set out in ‘Maritime 2050: Navigating the Future.’ Maritime 2050 is the first long-term strategy for the UK’s maritime sector and was launched by government in 2019. This vision recognises the maritime sector as being of significant importance to Britain’s future success, with regions and their individual unique specialist areas of focus, critical to driving the industry forward in the 21st century.

 The Maritime 2050 vision

“The UK will retain a diversity of maritime clusters that excel in their respective specialisations. London will remain the leading professional services centre in the world, the leading maritime centre in Europe, and one of the top maritime centres globally.

The UK will retain a highly attractive destination for maritime industry leaders and staff to work and live. UK-based maritime schools, colleges and universities will continue providing top-quality programmes and qualifications, providing technologically advanced skills that will be required in the maritime era.

The UK will maximise the benefit of its leading clusters across the country, retaining London as the home for maritime business and the global home of the IMO. The UK maritime sector will be consistently recognised for the ease with which business is done and the way in which government and industry work as one to promote the offer.”

What is a ‘Regional Cluster Organisation’?

  • A hybrid of trade body, chamber of commerce and lobbying ‘organisations’
  • Loosely based on established cluster models on the continent and further afield
  • RCOs support and intervene in single industry / associated sub-sectors
  • Focus on creating jobs and growth
  • Championing a particular region leads to direct correlation between RCO, increased productivity and innovation – growth and job generation across all sizes of business within the industry

What do Regional Cluster Organisations do?

  • Maritime 2050 sets out that their primary role is to create regional growth and in turn supporting national aims and objectives. To achieve this they focus on:
  • Increasing the profile of the region as a champion for the maritime industry
  • Providing the region with a critical pathway of communication and intelligence to government and key industry stakeholders
  • Fostering intra-regional collaboration, creating the framework for collaboration and aligning activity across a given geographic area
  • Driving export and foreign direct investment activity and opportunities
  • Acting as a conduit between industry, education and government
  • Facilitating networking and mentoring programmes to help create an ecosystem that is vital for growth
  • Encouraging knowledge and best practice sharing at a regional level and in turn nationally
  • Delivering wider national programmes and initiatives at a regional level such as the MUK Careers Campaign and Diversity in Maritime

Building a network across the whole of the United Kingdom

Maritime UK draws together its regional partners through a Regional Council which meets on a quarterly basis and reports to the National Council. The Regional Council is made up of full members of Maritime UK, established but developing regional organisations and those in the first stages of development. 

Belfast Maritime Consortium, headed by Artemis Technologies, encompasses established and young firms, academic and local government, based in Northern Ireland, including: Belfast Harbour, Bombardier Belfast, Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Engineering (NIACE), Creative Composites, Energia, Catalyst, Invest Northern Ireland, Ulster University, Belfast Met, Queen’s University, Belfast, Ards and North Down Borough Council, and Belfast City Council.

Belfast Maritime Consortium (http://www.artemistechnologies.co.uk/)

Maritime UK South West is a partnership of industry, academia and the public sector, set up to champion and grow the maritime industry in the south west region, as a premier destination for investment, innovation and growth. It covers the Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. MUK SW includes Cornwall Marine Network. CMN was established in 2002 by local marine businesses to give identity to, and improve the economic prosperity of, businesses in Cornwall’s world-class marine sector.

Maritime UK South West (https://maritimeuksw.org/)

Cornwall Marine Network (http://www.cornwallmarine.net/

Maritime UK Solent brings together the Solent region’s maritime strengths and assets and champions the region as a globally significant maritime cluster. Backed by the Solent LEP, it aims to help its members to develop international links to grow their businesses and provide them a direct route to Government with the help of Maritime UK.

Mersey Maritime is the regional cluster organisation for the maritime industry and wider supply chain in the Liverpool City Region and the greater North West. Their mission is to continue to be a catalyst for growth, influencing policy and driving change for the good of the sector.

Mersey Maritime (www.merseymaritime.co.uk)

The Scottish Maritime Cluster brings together Scotland’s world-class shipping, ports, shipbuilding, equipment, education, training and maritime service enterprises to drive economic growth in the global maritime market.

Scottish Maritime Cluster (https://www.scottishmaritimecluster.com/)

Team Humber Marine Alliance is a powerhouse of businesses working in the marine and offshore sectors in the area around the Humber Estuary. Its 200 member companies have full supply chain capabilities including in commercial shipping, marine engineering, support vessels, specialist health & safety and ports & logistics.

Team Humber Marine Alliance (http://www.thma.co.uk/)

Future plans

Maritime UK is aware that its network of regional cluster organisations doesn’t yet encompass all regions of the United Kingdom. We are always open to discussion with potential partners who may wish to engage with this work to help us further this agenda. If you would like to offer support, please contact the MUK Programme Manager, Simon Eardley