The big push for Maritime innovation

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of an exciting event for the UK Maritime Industry. With their ‘Maritime 2050: Navigating the Future’ Strategy, the Government set clear priorities going forward and confirmed their support to the maritime sector.

31 January 2020


Article published by Jack Jennings, Innovation Funding Adviser

"From the sextant to the steam engine, our nation’s rich maritime heritage has relied on our ability to identify and respond to major technological trends. Now, as we take stock of the sector as a whole, through our ambitious Maritime 2050 strategy, we can see that the maritime sector has reached a pivotal moment for technological development.

Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport (DfT)
The strategy set out several recommendations to businesses to boost the UK’s global competitive advantage in an industry projected to be worth $3 tr by 2030.
Some key areas of development highlighted were in:

  • Green shipping
  • Autonomy
  • Digitisation

The importance of gaining competitive advantage has perhaps never been greater, with uncertainties over Brexit looming ever nearer.

One concern for example is that, post-Brexit, UK ports and shipping companies will need to make big changes to customs protocols. This, in addition to already chronically congested major ports, will create serious logistical challenges which will need addressed. Considering the UK Maritime industry facilitates as much as 95% of all UK trade, any disruptions to sector might engender a knock-on effect to supply-chains across many industries.

Another challenge for the industry lies with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s  regulations, which are becoming increasingly stringent, like for example the drastic reduction in authorised sulphur emissions going from 3.5% to 0.5% this month.

So, the question is, how can the maritime sector overcome such worrying difficulties? The answer: through Collaboration and Innovation.

The DfT understands the need for collaborative innovation better than anyone else and has announced plans to build a ‘Maritime Innovation Hub’ by 2030. This hub will promote adoption of technology to boost productivity in the region.

A Research and Development branch of MaritimeUK – ‘MarRI’ has also been created. Partnered with several Universities and through a tiered membership scheme, this initiative aims to overcome the challenges faced by maritime businesses through collaboration and provides access to “multidisciplinary research to achieve practical, effective solutions” for its members.

In addition, we are already seeing technological solutions to issues relating to logistical challenges. Developments in Automation and Blockchain technology are ready to revolutionize the industry, with solutions such as ‘SmartPorts’ paving the way for a much-needed upgrade to our maritime infrastructure.

As a country with a rich maritime history, the UK has always been at the forefront of the industry. The Maritime 2050 strategy is our chance to remain competitive in a world of globalized competition, digital revolution and accelerated product lifecycles, where innovation is no longer an option but a pre-requisite to remaining competitive.

As a business operating in the maritime sector, how do you ensure your innovation activities are resourced for success?

There is a huge range of tax incentives, grants and subsidies available to companies in the UK, to help accelerate innovation and business expansion. As a result, it can be tricky selecting the best option for your business.

Whatever innovation funding challenges you face – in the UK or internationally – ABGI can help. We have a track record of success in helping our clients source the right innovation funding solution to maximise business growth.

Committed to accelerating innovation for UK business, ABGI UK provides expert advice and support on the various tax incentives available in the UK.

From R&D tax credits, RDAs, claim check, enquiry defence, Patent Box, risk assurance and grant funding to capital allowances, R&D advances, innovation strategy and enabling technologies, whatever innovation funding challenges you face – in the UK or internationally – we can help!