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UK Maritime Industry Grows 25% Despite Crisis

by Jason Gorringe,, London

20 August 2009

British shipping’s turnover grew from GBP9.5bn in 2007 to GBP11.9bn in 2008, an increase of over 25% according to new figures produced by the UK’s Office for National Statistics. According to a report released by the UK Chamber of Shipping, shipping now earns GBP1.35m every hour of every day for the UK economy.

Sea transport outstripped air transport, which lagged GBP7bn behind in terms of net contribution to balance of payments in 2008, and is third in the UK services sector in terms of export earnings at GBP10.6bn – up by 13% since 2005. As a result, sea transport has regained its position in third place in the services sector behind financial services and travel. These figures come from the newly published Pink Book on the UK Balance of Payments from the Office for National Statistics.

Shipping’s net direct contribution to the balance of payments during 2008 was GBP4bn, an increase of over 40% on the previous year, despite the substantial burden of fuel cost increases during the period. The industry’s overall contribution, taking import savings into account, was GBP5.7bn – an increase of 23%.

“These results are a clear indication of the shipping sector’s continued value to the British economy,” stated David Asprey, Head of Shipping Policy at the Chamber of Shipping.

“UK shipping has been making a consistently solid contribution to the economy since the revival of the industry in 2000. As we weather uncertain times in the shipping markets it is even more essential that the industry and Government work closely to ensure a positive and stable commercial environment.”

“Shipping transports over 90% of UK trade, and remains the most carbon efficient method of freight transport. We are sure, therefore, that Government will take notice of these figures and recognize the outstanding contribution the industry is making to the country’s economic recovery,” Asprey concluded.

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