ABP Chief Executive James Cooper called on The Government to put ports at the heart of its Industrial Strategy.
Speaking at a Maritime Nation event at the Foreign Office last night, Mr Cooper said ports had a vital role to play in growing exports.
He highlighted how the Port of Southampton, the UK’s leading export port, provided vital access to global markets ‘for manufacturers such as JCB and Jaguar Land Rover.
Around 300 MPs, maritime and UK manufacturing industry leaders gathered at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the reception to highlight the importance of the maritime sector to the UK economy.
The event was addressed by Trade Minister Mark Garnier, who echoed Mr Cooper’s call for the UK to have a global trading outlook.
Mr Cooper said: “The UK is a maritime nation. We are an island surrounded by sea. One might think that those drafting our new industrial strategy might usefully start by acknowledging that fact.
“There is a powerful case for ports and maritime to be at the forefront of a strategy to boost UK exports, front and centre of a wider industrial strategy that cuts across Government.
“The UK must raise its sights and adopt a global approach in our drive to boost trade and boost exports. Indeed a positive global outlook, being ambitious and being enterprising are qualities which are embodied by our maritime industries.”
Maritime Nation aims to raise awareness of the vital contribution of the marine and maritime sector and how it provides vital access to European and global markets for UK manufacturers.
The campaign is supported by a number of organisations, including ABP and the Port of Dover, and supports the Department for International Trade’s Exporting is GREAT campaign.
The campaign builds on three principles: 1) Ports and maritime are critical for UK trade; 2) Britain should build on its strengths as a maritime nation and 3) Britain should have a global trading outlook.