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New report highlights value and contribution of Solent maritime sector

04 May 2018

• Maritime sector contributes 20% of Solent economy • Trade worth £77.5 billion passes through Solent ports

Economic output from the Solent maritime sector has increased 14% over a five-year period, a new report by Maritime UK and the Solent LEP has found.

The report, which was released today (4 May 2018) on board cruise ship MV Ventura in Southampton, found that over five years the Solent maritime sector had experienced an increase in GVA contribution to a total £5.5 billion and now supports a total of 120,000 jobs. The high-level launch on board the P&O ship brought together industry and government leaders to discuss the future of the Solent and UK maritime sector.

The vital role of the Solent’s maritime sector in supporting international trade is also revealed in the new report.

More than £77.5 billion worth of exports and imports are moved through the major ports of Southampton and Portsmouth every year. The research by Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research) highlights the Port of Southampton’s location and infrastructure as being especially beneficial to the region’s reputation as a worldwide maritime gateway.

The study found that of the total goods moved through Solent ports, £42.8 billion are exports and 85% of these are routed through Southampton to non-EU trading partners, the highest proportion of any UK port.

Export trade from the Solent maritime sector, including to key developed and emerging markets, generates an estimated annual contribution of at least £20 billion for the UK economy.

On top of this are the benefits to hospitality and tourism from cruise liners using Southampton, with more than two million cruise passenger movements in 2017.

The research, commissioned by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and Maritime UK, looked in depth at the Solent’s shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries and the contribution of the Portsmouth Naval Base.

David Dingle CBE, Chairman of Maritime UK and of Southampton-based Carnival UK, said:

“The report released today shows the vital role that maritime already plays in Solent life,”

“In the Solent area, the maritime sector contributes at least £5.5bn to economic activity, directly employing just under 36,000 people. The employed population of Southampton is 130,600, and this means that those employed in the maritime industry make up 27.5% of the working population in Southampton.

“Across the United Kingdom, including in the Solent, we are seeing fantastic growth and we expect it to continue.

“The Solent plays a unique role in facilitating UK global trade and the importance of the sector will only grow post-Brexit. We’re supremely confident that we can play a crucial role in positioning Britain as an outward-looking, global trading maritime nation. The Solent and its maritime sector will be critical to that success.”

“As the engine of British trade, the maritime sector supports nearly 1 million jobs, contributes tens of billions to the UK GDP and drives exports as well as inward investment. Half a trillion pounds worth of goods passes through UK ports each year”


Anne-Marie Mountifield, Solent LEP Chief Executive, said:

"The report released today confirms the vital role of the Solent Maritime sector in supporting the UK economy and international trade. The Port of Southampton's location and infrastructure are identified as being especially beneficial to our reputation as a worldwide maritime gateway and Portsmouth has long been a world leader in marine engineering and continues to innovate in specialisms including marine autonomy.

The Solent LEP is keen to build on our partnership with the maritime sector to maximise the benefits of our investments and ensure that the Solent remains a global maritime gateway."

A full copy of the new report is available here.