Written evidence submitted by the Department for Transport (MAR0012)




Maritime 2050 is the challenging, ambitious vision for the future of UK Maritime. It recognises the sector’s critical role not only in the import and export of goods but also its impact on the wider economy (a short document highlighting the importance of the sector is at Annex A) and the opportunities it has to be at the forefront of meeting the global challenges facing maritime today.  Developed jointly by government and the maritime sector, its ambitions, objectives and its 184 recommendations represent the shared pathway to deliver the Maritime 2050 vision for the UK to continue being a world leading maritime nation long into the future.


Since Maritime 2050 was published, the sector has embraced the opportunities of Brexit and risen to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Against this background it would have been easy to forget the Maritime 2050 vision, but neither government nor the maritime sector has done so


Progress has been made in delivering Maritime 2050 recommendations, with 91 out of the 118 recommendations due to be progressed within 5 years either completed or in progress.   In 2022 we published our Maritime Biennial Report: April 2019 to May 2021 which outlined the government’s maritime achievements.  This was complemented by Maritime UK’s progress report “Maritime 2050: Where are we now”.


Of course, a 30-year strategy for an innovative and world leading sector such as maritime must be able to adapt to new challenges and priorities.  Maritime 2050 was written with this flexibility in mind and, working with industry, we regularly review our actions to ensure that within a rapid evolving context we continue to meet our goals. The necessity of this has been all too sadly demonstrated by the shocking actions of P&O ferries. We are putting forward robust steps to respond in the short term, but also ensuring that we use Maritime 2050 to accelerate measures to ensure we maintain the UK’s high standards on seafarer rights and welfare.


We will also be shortly publishing the Recovery Route Map which will set out how government and the maritime sector will work together to help the sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.   This was not a situation envisaged when Maritime 2050 was published, yet the actions from the Recovery Route Map will help the sector deal with new challenge whilst maintaining focus on the wider delivery of Maritime 2050.


1)    Whether and how the ambitions and objectives described in Maritime 2050 support the maritime sector.


Maritime 2050 is the product of government and the maritime sector’s strong and shared belief that maritime is integral to the future of the UK. Published in 2019 it assesses the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, setting out an ambitious vision for its future.  Importantly, this vision and its core values were developed through consultation and with guidance from the Maritime 2050 Expert Panel.  This independent panel (academics, industry leaders, maritime business services providers and industry bodies) provided challenge to government and strategic advice on issues of critical importance to maritime up until 2050.


This collaborative approach ensured that the seven Maritime 2050 themes (UK competitive advantage, technology, people, environment, trade, infrastructure and security & resilience) and 184 recommendations were specifically developed to give the maritime sector the long-term support it needs.  They provide a blueprint for dealing with the challenges faced by the sector such as climate change and resilience events, preparing for long term growth in seaborne trade, emergence of disruptive technologies, and ensuring that the sector can attract, support and keep the workforce it needs.


In the past two years, the sector has faced unanticipated and unparalleled challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector has shown extraordinary dedication and resilience as it ensured that vital goods continued to flow and the country continued to function.  Even during this immensely difficult period there has been an unwavering focus on how government and industry can together deliver the Maritime 2050 vision.


Recognising the impact of the pandemic on the maritime sector we will shortly be publishing a Recovery Route Map setting out short-term actions that government and industry will take to help the sector come back stronger and even more resilient. As with Maritime 2050, the Recovery Route Map was developed jointly by government and the maritime sector and reflects the immediate needs of the sector whilst turbocharging the path to delivering the Maritime 2050 vision.


Maritime 2050 continues to provide the vision and strategic framework for the sector. It is a long-term strategy designed to evolve and react to new and unexpected challenges.  To ensure that this happens we are establishing a new governance process that will:



2)    Progress towards the ambitions and targets set out in Maritime 2050, including the effectiveness, pace and priority of the strategy’s implementation.


Maritime 2050 is a 30-year strategy with recommendations due for completion within 5 years, 5 to 15 years and over 15 years.  We are at the start of the programme to deliver both its vision and recommendationsThe challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that government and the maritime sector had to focus on short-term crisis response, but this should not detract from the excellent progress that has been made across all seven themes. For example, of the 118 recommendations due within 5 years 91 have either been delivered or are in progress. 


UK Competitive Advantage


Maritime 2050 is the strategic framework ensuring that the UK remains one of the world’s leading maritime nations, highly attractive to investors, with the financial products and services in place to support the green growth of the industry.  


The sector is wide ranging, so naturally ambitions in the competitive advantage theme are many and varied.  Progress has been made across many of these and we continue to work closely with stakeholders on all maritime issues, providing leadership and challenge across the sector.  We have increased engagement between industry and government with joint working groups such as the Maritime Exports and Investment Group contributing to the delivery of the Five-year Plan for Maritime Exports and Investments.


Government has continued to support the maritime Regional Clusters and works alongside the sector to ensure that that the competitive advantage gained through cluster organisations is maximised. In 2019/20 we provided £50,000 for the first phase of the Regional Cluster Development Programme followed by £300,000 in 2020/21, enabling the continued development of Clusters in East Anglia, South-East, Scotland, Humberside and the North-East. 


Maritime 2050 recognises that safety underpins prosperity and growth. In 2019 we published our Maritime Safety Action Plan, setting out the ambitions, priorities, and actions that the Department for Transport, its agencies, arm’s length bodies and partners are taking, domestically and internationally, to drive continuous improvement in safety performance. We have continued to develop Maritime Safety Week has grown to become a significant, and hugely successful, part of the maritime calendar, bringing everyone involved in delivering safety together to share best practice and, ultimately, reduce the number of preventable deaths in UK waters.


We are also tackling the long-standing need to reform our Tonnage Tax regime.  Finance Bill 2021/22 will enact key reforms to support the maritime sector by easing rules for entry and strengthening the incentives for UK flagging. For example, increasing the threshold for ancillary income should reduce administrative burdens for participants, making it easier for firms to headquarter in the UK and boost jobs in coastal areas. Reforming the seafarers’ training commitment will ensure that the existing Tonnage Tax training requirements continue to work for UK cadets and meet the ongoing needs of the sector.  We have also strengthened the sector’s fiscal competitiveness by launching the UK Shipping Concierge Service in 2021. This provides bespoke financial guidance for maritime businesses looking to access and navigate the UK market. 


Over the last two years government has ensured that companies in the critical maritime sector could access Covid-19 support packages. We worked closely with freight operators to ensure the continued flow of critical goods in and out of the country and with lifeline service operators in the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight to secure funding to support essential services to these communities.  We also worked tirelessly with industry ensuring that the cruise sector could restart both domestically and internationally in a Covid-safe way. Although unexpected, our work over the last two years has ensured that the UK maritime sector has maintained its global standing and can emerge from the impacts of the pandemic ready to deliver the Maritime 2050 vision. 



Maritime 2050 recognises the importance of technology in making the sector a cleaner, safer, and more efficient place to work. Its ambition strengthens our existing reputation for maritime innovation.  It is for industry to lead the development of new and innovative technology with government facilitating, priming and setting the regulatory framework.  At this early stage of Maritime 2050 delivery both industry and government are setting the stage for the technological changes that will drive delivery across all seven Maritime 2050 themes.  For example, we supported the Port of Tyne in launching a Maritime Innovation Hub to support technology developments and regional productivity and continue to work with industry to develop the Innovation Hub model.


In 2019 we published the Technology & Innovation Route Map, setting the pathway for government and industry to work together to make the UK a world-leader in the development and use of maritime autonomy technologies. In September 2021 we sought views on our proposal to develop a UK-wide flexible legislative framework for remotely operated and autonomous vessels as soon as parliamentary time allows it. Taking the lead internationally will give the UK a competitive advantage and attract international business.


Since Maritime 2050 was published we have worked closely with Maritime UK (MarRi UK), to launch the 2019 Technology and Innovation Call and provided £2.5 million to support their Smart Maritime Land Operations Call:

We also funded MarRI-UKs Smart Shipping Report (November 2021), which aids policy makers, industry, and investors by assessing the benefits to the UK of developing new smart shipping technologies. The Report also provided a list of recommendations on ways to intervene in the sector to help deliver the Maritime vision.



People are at the heart of both the UK’s maritime sector and Maritime 2050, which set a clear vision for a diverse and rewarded workforce, focussing on good maritime welfare that sets a global benchmark for the sector. Although reacting to a global crisis, our work during the pandemic drives forward Maritime 2050’s ambition to grow our workforce, transform its diversity and enhance our reputation as the world leader in maritime welfare, education and training.   Delivering Maritime 2050’s people focussed aims and ambitions will remain a priority.  The Recovery Route Map will set out the actions that we intend to take over the next few years as we work with the sector to deliver these.


Delivery of Maritime 2050 depends on a strong partnership across government and industry. In 2019 we published the People Route Map and awarded £550,000 in pump prime funding to Maritime UK to support delivery of the recommendations. Over the last three years government and industry have been working together to drive forward our ambitions to grow our maritime workforce, transform their diversity and enhance our reputation as the world leader in the provision of maritime education and training.  To drive this work forward we have provided £100,000 in 2021 to fund the Maritime UK Skills and Diversity post for 2 years and in 2020 and worked with the maritime sector to creation of a Maritime Skills Commission to develop an understanding of the sectors’ current and future skills needs. 


Attracting, training and retaining a committed and diverse workforce is essential.  Recognising this, through Maritime 2050, a Careers Taskforce was established to co-ordinate maritime career promotional activity. We awarded £50,000 in 2021 to the 1851 Trust to continue with their Roadshows for Girls and to ensure cadet training could be completed during the pandemic, we provided an additional 12 months of SMarT (Support for Maritime Training) funding.  Our research “Barriers to Entry – Young People’s Perceptions of Aviation and Maritime Careers” was published in August 2021 and will support our ongoing maritime skills work.


Maritime 2050 is clear that promoting a maritime culture that encompasses diversity in its broadest sense, will reap wide ranging benefits.   As well as funding the MUK Skills and Diversity for post we have worked with the sector to expand the Women in Maritime Taskforce to become a Diversity in Maritime Taskforce with networks in Women, Ethnicity, Pride and Mental Health.


Maritime 2050 recognised the need to do more. This was evident during the Covid-19 pandemic when a light was shone on seafarer welfare.  In March 2020 the UK was the first state to recognise seafarers as key workers; we have continued to be a world leader, working with global stakeholders to support seafarers both domestically and internationally. At the start of the pandemic, we facilitated the repatriation of over 7,500 foreign national seafarers and around 18,250 passengers from cruise vessels alone. We vaccinated and repatriated thousands of seafarers regardless of their nationality or the flag of the vessel they serve on.   In July 2020, we hosted an international maritime summit, resulting in a joint statement by 15 countries to encourage all IMO member states to recognise seafarers as key workers, to facilitate crew changes and to abide by the IMO endorsed protocols.  


The UK continues to be a leader in standing up for seafarer rights.  In October 2020 we amended the national minimum wage legislation to protect all seafarers, regardless of nationality, working in UK territorial waters and the UK offshore sector. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published guides on wellbeing at sea for organisations and for individual seafarers. In addition to amending the national minimum wage we have made other progress in  delivering the social framework by working with industry and seafarer welfare organisations to develop mental health awareness training for new seafarers as part of their mandatory training. The UK was the first country to recognise seafarers as key workers at the start of the COVID pandemic. We led the way by hosting an international maritime summit in June 2020, paving the way for crew members who had been trapped on board their vessels, due to the pandemic, to be able to return home. Similarly, we have sought to provide vaccinations to as many seafarers as possible, providing vaccines to all seafarers in the UK regardless of their nationality.


As Maritime 2050 made clear we recognise there is much more to do, and in light of recent actions taken by P&O, we are looking strengthening these measures. We are working with industry partners to explore which elements of Maritime 2050 can be accelerated and, where needed, implement new measures.



Maritime 2050 places the UK maritime sector at the centre of the global efforts to address climate change, drive decarbonisation and provide leadership for a cleaner and greener maritime sector. Published in 2019, our Clean Maritime Plan sets out our strategy for achieving the Maritime 2050 vision. Implementing Maritime 2050’s environmental recommendations remained a priority through the challenges of the pandemic and is at the forefront of our plans to help the sector recover from its impacts. 

Government has invested resources, knowledge and funding in the sector, enabling it to drive forward the changes it needs to make to reach Net Zero.  This includes providing £1.4 million of funding for a competition for innovation in clean maritime, launching the one-year Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (allocating over £23 million of research and development funding to 55 projects across the UK supporting the acceleration of maritime decarbonisation) and providing up to £400,000 for maritime decarbonisation projects, via the Transport Research and Innovation Grants call in October 2021.  

In 2020 we established the Maritime Future Technologies Team within the MCA. A non-regulatory centre of technical expertise in the development of zero emission and autonomous vessel technology, it will facilitate the implementation of emerging technologies and guide innovators through the regulatory process.  We also supported the establishment of the Clean Maritime Awards and launched a consultation on a potential carbon emission tax, assessing amongst other things whether this could be applied to shipping. Our commitment to delivering the environmental aims of Maritime 2050 continued in 2021, with actions needed to decarbonise transport set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.


In addition we launched two ambitious initiatives at COP26: the Clydebank Declaration and Operation Zero, which aim to accelerate the deployment of zero emission technologies and fuels over the next decade and beyond, enabling the transition to zero-emission shipping to begin. We announced the expansion of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, including incentives for renewable fuels of non-biological origin for marine use such as hydrogen and ammonia. We agreed Carbon Budget Six which for the first time will include emissions from international shipping, as a means of maintaining consistent carbon accounting.  The latest IMO air pollution standards have now been implemented into domestic legislation, reducing nitrogen dioxide emissions from new ships operating in the North Sea emission control area by around 75%.

We remain determined to deliver on the long-term environmental priorities in Maritime 2050 and have recently announced £206 million for the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission (UK SHORE).  UK SHORE will drive Maritime’s transition to net zero, transforming the UK into a global leader in the design and development of clean maritime technologies. From strengthening supply chains, supporting green jobs in shipbuilding and manufacturing across the UK, funding from UK SHORE interventions mark the biggest government investment of this kind in maritime. UK SHORE will manage the implementation of a multi-year Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, work with industry to unlock the necessary private investment in clean maritime technologies and tackle technical barriers faced by shipbuilders, their supply chain, and ship operators in adopting clean propulsion technologies and advanced materialsWorking with the Clean Maritime Council, the National Shipbuilding Office, BEIS, DIT and DfE and stakeholders across the sector UK SHORE will ensure that a strategic approach is adopted to accelerate the transition to zero emission.




With up to 95% of goods (by weight) moving to and from the UK by ship, maritime trade is fundamental to the UK economy.  Maritime 2050 commits government to working with UK businesses to make trade easier, remove barriers and unlock the potential of international exports.  This was emphasised by the publication of the Trade Route Map (January 2019) which confirms that we will continue to offer expertise, guidance and support to help companies grow and access existing and new markets. 


Since Maritime 2050 was published, we have continued to pursue economic prosperity for the UK and lead by example through our liberal economy and pursuit of free trade. Expert Trade Advisory Groups have been established, enabling us to draw on external knowledge and experience to ensure that the UK’s trade policy is evidence based. The UK has also signed free trade agreements with the EU, Japan, EEA-EFTA states, Australia and New Zealand that include ambitious commitments on international maritime transport services benefitting UK suppliers and UK-flagged vessels. 


We continue to work with countries across the world to explore ways to develop our trade and investment relationships.  This has included engagement programmes at the highly successful London International Shipping Weeks in 2019 and 2021, both of which showcased the UK’s status as a global maritime leader.  We successfully bid to host the Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit in 2021 bringing together 200 leaders and opinion shapers from across the maritime sector, government, NGOs and academia to develop actions that tackled global challenges. 


Eight English Freeports were announced in March 2021. The first two sites are now operational with tax sites for a further three Freeports going live on the 22 March. Businesses trading in these zones can access tax and customs reliefs which will help to create jobs and attract investment to the local area. These benefits will provide a boost to communities which have been hit hard by the pandemic, spearheading innovation with more opportunities for employment and the chance to develop in high-skilled jobs. Government is committed to bringing the benefits of Freeports to all parts of the Union and has announced plans for two Green Freeports to be formed in Scotland with discussions underway with both the Welsh and Northern Irish Administrations.


In March 2022, the Maritime Minister participated in the Department for International Trade’s quarterly Board of Trade (BoT) meeting, chaired by the Secretary of State for International Trade. The meeting focussed on the maritime sector and coincided with the publication of a BoT report entitled ‘Embracing the Ocean’, which highlights the value of the maritime domain for international trade and explores opportunities to strengthen the UK contribution to the global sector through trade-led approaches. DfT worked closely alongside DIT in the drafting of the report, contributing substantially to sections with clear links to Maritime 2050’s strategic ambitions, including those focussed on sustainability, infrastructure and freeports and leveraging a pro-maritime trade policy.




Maritime infrastructure is critical to the nation’s economy. The port and shipping sectors are integral to the UK’s transport and economic fabric, with ports contributing £2.1 billion in GVA and 27,000 jobs, and the shipping sector contributing £6.1 billion in GVA and 59,000 jobs in 2017.[1] Maritime 2050 recognises this and provide for an agile sector, open and able to change as technology develops.

Since Maritime 2050 was published, government has continued to work closely with the sector not only to deliver its recommendations but also responding to the challenges of planning for the UK’s exit from the EU and impact of the pandemic.

Our work included delivering a cross-modal, cross-government freight capacity framework supporting the flow of critical goods in preparation for the end of the transition period, working with industry and international partners to keep critical freight flowing into and across the UK during the pandemic.  This demonstrates how government is already delivering on its Maritime 2050 commitments to work with the sector to address the challenges that it faces. 

In 2019 we delivered the Port Infrastructure, Resilience and Connectivity Competition, offering ports across England the opportunity to bid for a share of £10 million to enhance capacity and resilience whilst maintaining trade flow, provided £15 million for the development of key port connectivity road and rail projects and supported our ports by working on port byelaws, harbour revision orders and consideration of changes to permitted development rights.

In December 2020, government awarded £200 million in grants to 40 British ports via the Port Infrastructure Fund (PIF). PIF awards are used to enhance border controls infrastructure, enabling ports to operate effectively within the new Border Operating Model. Recognising that some ports are unable to build on-site, government allocated a further £270 million for Inland Border Facilities. These include the Sevington site serving the short Straits. Ports are currently building their new and enhanced PIF-funded facilities. This work will ensure that our border meets challenges associated with July 2022 changes to EU goods importing procedures. 


We are working with industry to deliver a Future of Freight Plan later this year. Providing a long-term cross-modal plan for the UK freight sector, it will draw on extensive engagement with key stakeholders, delivering a cost efficient, reliable, resilient, and environmentally sustainable freight sector.


Security & Resilience


Maritime 2050 recognises that security is fundamental to the national interest and the prosperity of the maritime sectorWe have worked with stakeholders to build resilience not only to deal with Covid-19 but to strengthen the sector in line with Maritime 2050 ambitions.  We have worked with ports and ferry operators on winter weather preparedness, in particular the risks associated with Tidal Surge, and established new governance structures to oversee cross-Whitehall policy development and incident response.  We have also delivered revised Port Facility Security Instructions and finalised cyber security guidance for Ports.


We conducted a review of maritime security, looking at legislation, policies and processes underpinning the sector to produce a refreshed National Strategy for Maritime Security (to be published later this year). The strategy was driven by, and aligns with, Maritime 2050 and serves as a five-year plan and stepping-stone to achieving its security and resilience ambitions, such as port security, global shipping route security, cyber security, terrorism, maritime crime and piracy.


Maritime 2050’s commitment to the security of UK and Overseas Territories waters and maintaining counter-terrorism capabilities remain a priority.  We have undertaken a programme of international maritime security measures including assessments at ports overseas, reviewed processes and procedures to mitigate the effects of new security threats and maintained the UK based security compliance programme and identified cooperation and capacity development opportunities with international partners. Our investment in the development of the Joint Maritime Security Centre has cemented its role as the central co-ordinator for cross-Whitehall maritime security intelligence and major incident co-ordination.


As ever, our work must remain flexible and reflect current priorities, not least the situation in Ukraine and our response to small boats migration. Both situations have underlined the important of effective joint working between different departments, organisations such as the Joint Maritime Security Centre, and industry partners. They will similarly inform our future work, feeding into the refreshed National Strategy for Maritime Security and our international and industry engagement.


3)    The effect of Maritime 2050 on Government policies and regulation, maritime sector decision making and economic and environmental outcomes, including the Clydebank declaration agreed at COP26.


Maritime 2050 underpins the development and delivery of all the government’s maritime policies.  Some of government’s policies and activities are designed to deliver specific Maritime 2050 recommendations (eg maximising our leadership role at the IMO or publishing a Safety Action Plan). Others such as the development of our Future of Freight Strategy, UK SHORE and the refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy will deliver across many Maritime 2050 recommendations, as well contributing to wider government priorities. 


Launched at COP26, the Clydebank Declaration saw 22 states expressing their support for the establishment of green shipping corridors. The initiative will show how maritime decarbonisation is possible, creating a “living lab” able to complement our work on emissions reduction at the IMO.  This demonstrates both how the UK is meeting Maritime 2050s ambitions for the UK to drive the transition to zero-emission shipping and take a leadership role internationally.


Since the publication of Maritime 2050 government has reaffirmed its commitment by publishing a series of Route Maps setting out how government would deliver on its Maritime 2050 commitments. We will shortly be publishing the Recovery Route Map (incorporating the Competitive Advantage Route Map) and our plans for implementing the security and resilience focussed ambitions will be set out in the National Strategy for Maritime Security. The other route maps published are:



Maritime 2050 represents a partnership between government, its agencies and Arms Length Bodies such as the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the General Lighthouse Authorities, and the maritime sector.  As a privately owned industry that hold its own investment levers, it is right that the sector leads the delivery of Maritime 2050 and that government acts as facilitator.  Industry have risen to this challenge, which can be seen in Maritime UK’s 2021 report “Maritime 2050, Where are we now?”, documents such as The Port of Tyne’s strategy “Tyne 2050”, the Port of London Authority’s consultation “Thames Vision 2050” and the ongoing commitment by industry to the Regional Cluster Development Programme.


Annex A



March 2022


[1] State of the maritime nation report 2019, Maritime UK, table 5 (p.33) and table 7 (p34)