The UK government’s Department of Transport has released a 338-page document entitled, “Maritime 2050 – Navigating the Future”, detailing its plans for developing maritime industry and innovations.
“As the UK looks to reframe its relationship with the world, the time is right to set our vision for the future of the maritime sector,” the document states. “We are confident the maritime sector will thrive and strengthen, as it harnesses the opportunities that EU exit brings.”
The plan outlines the government’s long-term “strategic ambitions”, which include enhancing the UK’s competitive advantage, leading the way on “clean maritime growth” (working towards zero emission shipping), innovating through technology, being recognised as a global leader in safety and security standards, expanding the workforce, promoting “a liberalised trading regime”, and investing in maritime infrastructure.
The document acknowledges that the UK “no longer enjoys the unprecedented global pre-eminence it once did, yet it continues to be significant maritime power”, which through the proposed actions can be “well-placed to take a leading role in the new global maritime industry”. It places heavy emphasis on developing the “brand” of UK maritime.
The government is looking to introduce legislation that would allow for the testing of early-stage autonomous vessels in UK waters, as well as the development of “smart ports” using automated processes and the digitalisation of maritime operations, including the use of blockchains.