Memorandum by The Royal Institution of
Naval Architects (FUS 26)
THE FUTURE OF THE UK SHIPPING INDUSTRY
The Royal Institution of Naval Architects welcomes
this initiative and interest in the UK shipping industry. However,
it considers that the present state and potential of the UK shipping
industry should be considered in the context of the broader UK
maritime industry, including shipbuilding, repair and shipping
services. Such activities are inter-related and in many instances,
interdependent. Such relationships clearly indicate the importance
of partnerships, not only between Government and the industry,
but also between sectors of the industry. Whilst the commitment
of those in the industry to realising its potential is essential,
it is considered important that Government provides greater leadership
and encouragement. Many sectors of the industry remain unconvinced
that the Government fully recognises the importance and contribution
of the UK marine industry to the UK economy.
Action and partnership, etc.
The need for and commitment to such partnership
is essential and should be clearly stated. In particular, Government
must convince industry that it does indeed recognise the importance
of both the UK shipping industry and the wider UK maritime industry.
Such partnership and perceived commitment has been noticeable
by its absence, not only between Government and shipowners, but
between owners and other sectors of the marine industry. It is
considered that Government's encouragement, interest and leadership
are as vital as financial support, the scope for which it is accepted
may be limited and inappropriate in an international, competitive
UK Ship Registration
It is considered that an increase in UK ship
registration would undoubtedly lead to better standards of safety
and hence greater passenger attraction, lower insurance premiums
etc. It should also be recognised that without such an increase,
the UK runs the risk of being marginalised in such international
organisations such as the IMO, and therefore less able to influence
safety standards and other related issues.
The Contribution of Shipping, etc.
It is considered essential that the contribution
which UK shipping makes to the UK economysome £2B
of GDPis more readily acknowledged. Without such awareness,
it is unlikely that its needs will receive the priority they require.
Shipping, as part of an integrated policy, provides
an opportunity to reduce road transport through coast feeder routes.
However, this will require a commitment to improving or developing
The Countries Strategic Needs, etc.
It is considered very unlikely that UK registered
shipping could meet all but the most limited of strategic needs,
and certainly not on a scale anywhere approaching the Falklands
War. If such a capability is considered necessary, then its cost
should be acknowledged. Financial commitment encouraging UK shipping
registration, and indirectly construction, must be provided.
Levels of Employment of UK Seafarers, etc.
Continued de-manning in modern ships, encouraged
by better design, greater automation and increased shore-side
support will reduce the impact on operation costs of pay differentials.
However, levels of training and safety, and their enforcement,
then assume even greater importance. There is clear evidence that
the run down in UK seafarer numbers is leading to shortages in
the number of skilled and experienced personnel required by related
on-shore industries and services. It is believed that the time
to recover from this situation is limited as training facilities
and experience are lost through lack of demand.
Experience of other Countries, etc.
Countries such as Denmark provide good example
of the partnership and co-operation between all sectors of the
marine industryowners, operators, builders, repairers,
etc.that is essential to the success of the UK industry.
The contribution of On-Shore Shipping Services,
The importance of the contributions which on-shore
shipping services make to the UK economy must also be publicly
and convincingly acknowledged, as must that made by other sectors
of the marine industryshipbuilding, repair, equipment supply,
R&D, consulting services etc. Together with on-shore shipping
services, these contribute some £3 billion to the UK economy.
Ports must also be acknowledged as an important element of the
UK maritime industry, contributing a further £800 million.
4 December 1998