Ambitious recovery plan to make Solent a huge maritime 'global player' is revealed
AN AMBITIOUS economic recovery plan is being launched in the Solent following on from the region’s boom in maritime prospects.
The news has been revealed by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is being spearheaded by Maritime UK Solent.
The recovery plan aims to chart a course to success for the region’s maritime sector, showcasing the Solent as a global maritime hub – one key to supporting the UK’s future trade growth.
The effort comes after Portsmouth’s International Port agreed a series of deals with top international cruise firms which are set to bring millions of pounds worth of trade to the city.
The impressive 525ft long vessel will be kicking off her UK tour from Portsmouth before then heading to the Far East.
Virgin Voyages massive luxury liner the Scarlet Lady will set sail on her maiden voyage later in August, in a deal that is set to bolster the city’s tourism trade following the crushing financial blow of the pandemic.
Anne-Marie Mountifield, board director for Maritime UK and chief executive of the Solent LEP, said: ‘Maritime UK Solent is committed to the fast-track recovery of the maritime sector through innovation and promotion, pioneering a low carbon return to growth fit for the 21st century.
‘These vessels on show in Southampton and Portsmouth are some of the most advanced in the world and their arrival in the Solent serves to showcase our position as the UK's leading maritime hub, perfectly positioned as a global gateway to lead growth and prosperity.’
As part of the economic recovery plan, maritime leaders aim to transform the Solent into an ‘international gateway’.
The proposal will also put Solent firms at the heart of pioneering marine and maritime-led innovation, while aiming to boost critical skills needed to maintain and grow the industry in the future.
A focus, too, will be placed on the decarbonisation of ports and maritime companies, with an ambition to move towards a carbon net zero.
Ben Murray, chief executive at the national organisation, Maritime UK said: ‘The route to recovery for the Solent's maritime sector is based on championing the region as a globally significant maritime cluster - supporting the sector in charting a new course that can provide added resilience and adaptability, expand opportunities for global trade, and foster innovation and creativity.
‘As a global gateway, enhanced by the designation of Freeport status, the Solent has an important role to play in underpinning trade resilience and enabling businesses to respond to, and take advantage of, new trading relationships.’
Anne-Marie added: ‘This is a new beginning for the Solent maritime sector, and we have ambition and determination to build back better and greener than ever before.’
The Maritime UK Solent Recovery Plan is available on the Solent LEP’s website.