A report published on Friday by the City of London Corporation says that the UK retains its “world leading position in maritime business services for insurance, shipbroking, legal services” – with global market shares of 35%, 26% and 25% respectively – as well as for education.
Produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the 48-page report calculates that the maritime business services sector as a whole now contributes £4.4billion to the UK economy annually and employs over 10,000 people. An estimated 80-85% of its business comes from outside the UK.
The report was launched at a breakfast briefing Friday morning hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Lord Mountevans.
In his opening address the Lord Mayor said he was particularly pleased that the independent maritime report had been launched “on his watch”.
A former Clarksons broker, Mountevans is an active supporter of the maritime sector and also chairman of UK maritime services’ body Maritime London (which jointly sponsored the report), as well as having chaired the UK Maritime Growth Study, which published its findings last September.
PwC assistant director David Smith, one of the authors of the report, highlighted how one of the main strengths of the UK maritime cluster is the insurance sector, which continues to fare well against international competition because of the “increasing complexity with which the well trained and highly experienced UK insurers can deal”.
He also alluded to the spread of UK maritime law around the world thanks to the perceived dependability and fairness of the country’s legal system.
Indeed, the report claims that the depth and scale of the UK’s talent pool remains “unrivalled” in comparison to other leading maritime centres such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.
It also notes that the UK’s stable business environment, geographical location and time zone, plus London’s attractiveness as a place to live, all benefit the cluster.
However, various UK weaknesses were identified in both the report and ensuing discussion, such as the reduced presence of both shipowners and shipping banks, and recent escalation in the cost of housing.
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