Catching the Wave


Catching the Wave is a study that examines the evolution and current position of the UK’s maritime professional business sector. This report was created as an update of the study performed in 2016. 

The UK is the global leader in the Maritime Business Professional Sector

The maritime business professional sector supports around 10 000 jobs and adds approximately 5-6 billion pounds of Gross Added Value to the UK economy. The country has been able to maintain this position due to a broad service economy, including skilled workforce, stable business environment, and a respected legal system. 

The United Kingdom maintains approximately 25% share of the entire market. Insurance, Law, and Shipbroking are the most relevant services within the sector. Ship Management and Ship Classification are also relevant fields. Nonetheless, the country lacks a stronger availability for Ship Finance.

The UK has been losing market share with other relevant players

In recent years, the shipping activity has migrated to Asia. New competitive centres have rapidly developed.  Shanghai, Singapore, the United States, Oslo and Dubai among others have captured more of the new activity in the shipping industry.

Asia leads the trade across regions with 50% of inter-regional trade activities. Shipping companies, charterers, and maritime business professional sector providers have migrated to Asia, developing new clusters in that continent. By 2030, it is forecasted that South East Asia, and more specifically China, become the largest centre of intra-regional trade. China will develop its share to approximately 20% of World GDP. India and Indonesia will be become the second and fourth-largest economies by 2050. 

The UK leads the maritime education sector

With a long trajectory in maritime activities, the UK has a large pool of seafarers and skilled people. The country has the world’s best high-quality education institutions in the maritime sector. Education has turned itself into an export and new way to connect the UK with international markets and global shipping networks. Competition in this area has grown substantially in recent years. Asian competitors have invested in new institutions and offer cheaper alternatives for students located on that continent. 

Technology plays an important role in the maritime business professional sector

Digital technology and software, such as AI, IoT, blockchain, AIS data and vessel automation are key to the growth and expansion of the maritime sector in UK and in the world. The UK has the majority of technology start-ups followed by the US. There still potential to invest more in developing further these technologies to become a leader in this area. 

Factors such as a transparent legal system and quality of life are important for a leading maritime business professional sector. 


By Maria Paula Ar…