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Thursday, February 6, 2020 

The UK Chamber of Shipping celebrated the 100th anniversary of receiving its Royal Charter at its recent annual dinner in London, attended by 800 guests, including HRH The Princess Royal, Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani and IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim.

The Chamber’s outgoing President Sir Michael Bibby delivered his final speech before John Denholm takes up the position in March. Sir Michael highlighted the fantastic growth in the UK shipping sector which now employs over 180,000 people and contributes nearly £20bn a year to the UK economy. He also highlighted the opportunities for the UK, from automation to leading the world in green technology.

He said: “The target to ensure the UK remains the leading maritime nation in green ships, automation and security has been built into the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy and it is up to us now to grab the opportunities that this represents. We all need to work together, not work in silos, while utilising the ‘cluster model’. To be a leader in the zero-carbon field we need research and development to design new engines that work on new clean fuels, involving our universities, fuel suppliers and manufacturers. We need ports and infrastructure that can supply the fuel and end users that are prepared to pay the cost. This has to be surrounded by the right legal infrastructure allowing appropriate finance and insurance products to be put in place.”

The President used his speech to call for more clarity from the government as the UK starts to negotiate its future relationship with its European partners.

Sir Michael said: “The people in this room now really need to know the detail of how the UK will leave the EU… I hope nobody will 'die in a ditch' over completing a trade deal or exiting the transition period by the end of this year, and that reason will prevail to extend the debate if necessary to ensure that we continue to have as frictionless trade as possible, the free movement of people that we need to operate and really good future opportunities to trade with our largest economic partner – the EU.”

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