New research shows UK as leader in marine insurance, shipbroking, legal services and education
by Andy Pierce
The maritime services sector contributes £4.4bn ($6.3bn) to the UK economy with the nation remaining an undisputed leader in the field, a new report says.
Research released today by City of London Corporation says over 10,000 people are employed in the business with the UK the world leader in marine insurance, shipbroking, legal services and education.
Lord Mayor of the City of London Jeffrey Mountevans, a shipbroker with Clarksons for over 40 years, said: “Maritime business services are a very strong part of the UK professional services offer, but perhaps an area which does not always get the recognition it deserves.
“However, their importance to the economy cannot be denied. As a nation, with our unrivalled maritime heritage, we can be proud of a services sector with world-leading firms and unmatched expertise in areas like insurance, law, shipbroking, shipping finance, and education and training. But we do have competition from across the world following close in our wake.
“We need the continued support of the government in backing this sector and serious commitment by the industry to play a leadership role. This includes investing in the skills of our workers and promoting the sector and wider maritime industry effectively. We must be bold if we are to maintain our number one status – now and in the future.”
A 48-page report undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and released just a few weeks before the UK public vote on whether to stay in the European Union, said that between 80% and 85% of the business is brought in from overseas.
Customers in Western Europe, excluding Greece, are show to contribute 16% of revenue for UK maritime services, while Singapore accounts for 15%.
North American business generates 10% of the income, Japan 8%, China just 4% and Greece 2%, the report showed. Thirteen percent comes from domestic customers.
David Smith, assistant director at PwC, said: “This report reveals not just the scale of maritime business services in the UK, but also their continued success.
“Despite growing competition from other hubs, many parts of the industry have shown growth in recent years, and in some cases even gained share from overseas competition.
“However, the industry faces a number of challenges. Meeting these will require companies and government to work together to ensure the sector remains a UK success story.”
PWC makes four top end recommendations, suggesting:
- the country maintain and enhance its reputation and capability in the sector,
- promote the UK globally as a destination for maritime business,
- maintain a global outlook with a particular opportunity to improve links with emerging hubs and mainland China, and,
- maintain and protect the existing pillars of the UK’s maritime services cluster.
Harry Theochari, vice chairman of Maritime London, said the organisation is not surprised to see that the UK remains the undisputed global leader in this sector and it is well aware of the huge contribution that maritime business services make to the economy of the UK.
“With the maritime industries facing the worst recessions in living memory, this is a pivotal time for everyone involved in the maritime industry and it is clear that the United Kingdom and the City of London, through their maritime professional services capability, are exceptionally well placed to assist and serve the maritime industry through these very challenging economic times and to continue to build on the excellence and expertise that has been developed over such a long period of time,” he said.