THE future of the marine industry in the Portsmouth region is bright, according to the government’s new shipping minister.
Southampton-born Stephen Hammond was at the city’s boat show yesterday to celebrate the industry’s ‘great manufacturing success’ for the country.
And while there he spoke about Portsmouth’s own industry, and the city’s international port – which he has been through this year on his way to the continent.
He praised the investment given to the port’s managers by Portsmouth City Council.
But he added: ‘I also want to see the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership involved in the port, because getting them involved is going to be key to its success.
‘Working together with the local authority and the Solent LEP is going to see even more expansion for the port in Portsmouth.’
Mr Hammond said he expected to be back in Portsmouth soon, as a guest of fellow Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt.
He also said he would be working hard to keep marine investment at its current levels and also ‘to ensure government does not get in the way of the marine industry’ with its legislation.
Firms from the Portsmouth region have been exhibiting at the PSP Southampton Boat Show since last Friday, showing off their expertise in an industry that seems almost recession-proof.
Segensworth transport firm PSP announced this week that it has extended its sponsorship of the event for another two years.
PSP managing director Frank Dixie said: ‘Our strategy is to support the industry, to support the sport of sailing, and to support the boat show.’
Mr Dixie added that sponsoring the boat show was the best way to ensure the marine transport side of his business could expand.
‘It’s currently about 20 per cent of our turnover and we want it to be 40 per cent,’ he said.
BOAT SHOW STAR IS DOUBLE-DECKER BUS
IT may seem like an odd thing to need to do at a boat show, but one Gosport firm has been busy trying to get people to experience getting out on the water.
Neil and Mandy Chapman, who run online yacht broker boatshed.com, have teamed up with the British Marine Foundation to get more people to try things like kayacking, sailing dinghies, and yachting.
Their idea is to help get more people interested in the industry.
Neil said: ‘It’s important for the future success of the marine industry that we all work together.
‘It has been a success so far.’
The couple have been hosting school children on their double-decker bus, which has been parked within the boat show compound.
And they will also be taking it to the London Boat Show, the Badminton Horse Trials and the Goodwood Festival of Speed to inspire more sailors of the future.