UK’s leading shipping trade association UK Chamber of Shipping has outlined its five priorities for the next government to address. The UK Chamber of Shipping sets out the five priorities where the UK government needs to take urgent action in the next parliament under the 3Ps themes of “people, planet and prosperity.”

The maritime trade body is calling on the next government to deliver a net zero shipping strategy building on the Clean Maritime Plan, to commit to funding SMarT to the end of the next Parliament and to introduce a temporary extension for lifeline ferry services from the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

It also wants the next government to review of measures likely to cause disruption to trade or travel at UK maritime borders, including the forthcoming EU Entry/Exit System and to work with industry in order to inspire and enable the next generation to have a career in the maritime industry.

Commenting on the launch UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Rhett Hatcher said:

“The UK’s shipping industry is the lifeblood of the country’s economy and our priorities for the next government will increase the attractiveness of the UK as a place for shipping business, generating jobs and growth country-wide and enable the sector to achieve its commitment to reach net zero.

“The next government will need to quickly grasp both the immediate and longer term priorities of our sector and I look forward to working in partnership with them to ensure that shipping remains at the heart of the country’s economic prosperity and social wellbeing.”  

Deliver a net zero shipping strategy

It is vital to provide the industry and investors with confidence. To achieve this and build on the work of the Clean Maritime Plan, requires a multi-year strategy which creates a framework for government support.

Key priority areas are a plan to enable shore power roll out and incentivisation for the uptake and supply of greener fuels for the whole industry.

A long term commitment to SMarT funding

At present the annual intake numbers for UK seafarers is well below the 2,000 that are needed to meet industry demand.

The UK Chamber of Shipping is calling for all branches of SMarT funding to be maintained at current levels for the duration of the next Parliament to safeguard the future of the sector.

Introduce a temporary and reviewable exemption from the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for lifeline ferry services

The UK’s domestic ferry network is the lifeblood of many island communities across the country.

Current plans to include lifeline ferry services in the UK ETS from 2026 without a complete package of net zero incentives, levers and infrastructure risks significant harm to island communities.

Review measures likely to cause disruption to trade or travel at UK maritime borders

To improve the passenger experience and avoid long delays to both passengers and trade at ports, the next government needs to work alongside EU partners to reduce passenger checks at borders resulting from upcoming EU border security systems.

“We must also ensure the introduction of separate EU and UK initiatives on electronic authorisation schemes do not coincide, as this risks further disruption. We also need charges for inspections of medium-to-high risk animal and plant imports to be standardised by government to help ensure supply chain resilience,” says the maritime trade body.

Inspire and prepare the next generation for a career in the maritime industry

The industry is proactively working to educate people about the variety of roles available in the sector both at sea and ashore and to challenge common misconceptions about careers in shipping.

Increased awareness is needed and knowledge through inclusion in the national curriculum, and future skills development across the maritime sector via schools and FE colleges.