The UK Chamber of Shipping's CEO Guy Platten and its president Dr Grahaeme Henderson were among a delegation of international shipowners and major figures from the shipping industry that visited 10 Downing Street on Monday as part of London International Shipping Week 2017.
The delegation, led by Maritime UK, took part in a round-table debate with government ministers to discuss both the challenges and opportunities facing the UK's maritime industry, and how the government can strengthen the country's appeal as an attractive business centre.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling chaired the debate, which was attended by Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade; Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to HM Treasury; shipping minister John Hayes; Lord Prior from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Robin Walker from DExEU, among others.
Following the meeting, shipping minister John Hayes told press that leaving the EU will present an opportunity for greater foreign investment in the UK, particularly after Brexit.
Although the meeting was held in private, known priorities for discussion include how a more attractive and flexible tonnage tax regime might be created, plus residency rules following the UK's exit from the European Union
Shipping figures also called on ministers to back the UK Chamber of Shipping's SMarT Plus proposal, in which funding for seafarer training would be doubled to £30 million in return for guaranteed jobs for newly qualified seafarers with UK shipping companies.
Renowned international shipowners who attended the meeting included Emanuele Grimaldi, MD of the Grimaldi Group; Daniel Ofer, MD of Zodiac Maritime; Niels Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Ltd; Dan Sten Olsson, CEO and director of Stena AB
- to name just a few. The shipping delegation was led by David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK and of Carnival UK.
The owners were joined by some of the most prominent heads of major UK-based maritime businesses, such as Andi Case, CEO of Clarksons plc and Helen Deeble, CEO of P&O Ferries.
Discussion extended to how connectivity between the nation's ports and the hinterlands might be improved, possibly through infrastructural upgrades, and how the UK's industrial strategy and newly released National Shipbuilding Strategy can be implemented effectively.
The assembled shipping figures called for government support for a National Maritime Research Centre, which would pull together academic work being generated throughout the UK and help foster a coordinated approach to innovation and technology.