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Mersey Maritime's 9th Annual Industry Awards were hosted at the iconic Liverpool Cathedral, marking a significant highlight in the UK maritime sector’s calendar.

More than over 550 distinguished guests (YouTube highlights) on 2nd November from across the United Kingdom and beyond to come together to recognise outstanding achievements and innovations in the maritime industry.

The awards process received an overwhelming response, with more than 100 individual applications submitted on behalf of over 50 diverse businesses and organisations. These submissions represented various sectors within the maritime industry, underscoring the broad spectrum of talent and expertise in the field. The rigorous judging process, which included expert assessment and an industry-wide vote, saw a record-breaking 2,500 votes cast, showcasing the sector’s deep interest in and commitment to the awards.

This year, Sam Quek MBE, Olympic gold medallist and TV presenter, assumed the role of host for the evening. Born and raised in the North West, Sam brought a deep connection to the region, adding a personal touch to the event.

A key highlight of the evening was the keynote address delivered by Katherine Fairclough, CEO of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. In her address, Katherine, emphasised the pivotal role of the maritime industry in driving growth and investment within the Liverpool City Region. Her insights and vision for the future underscored the critical importance of the sector in the region’s economic development and global standing.

The prestigious Business of the Year Award was presented to Stone Marine Shipcare Ltd, an exemplary company renowned for its dedication and excellence in the maritime sector. Stone Marine Shipcare Ltd was founded in 1946 and has a rich history of providing comprehensive marine services in the Liverpool City Region and beyond.

The highly sought-after Maritime Ambassador Award was awarded to Sir Michael Bibby, a distinguished figure known for his outstanding contribution to the maritime industry over the course of his career. Sir Michael has been a prominent and influential leader in the sector, serving as the former CEO of the Bibby Line Group, a renowned shipping and logistics company; one of the oldest family maritime companies in the region. His visionary leadership and advocacy for the maritime industry have left a lasting mark on it and this award was clear recognition of that fact.

Diamond sponsors for the event were Kays Medical, Liverpool John Moores University, and Peel Ports Group, alongside other category sponsors. The awards celebrated the best-in-class within the maritime sector and highlighted the Liverpool City Region’s commitment to driving growth and investment.

As part of the proceedings, those attending were invited to support Mersey Maritime’s chosen charity for 2023, The Hive, which is based in Wirral. The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead is a state-of-the-art purpose-built centre for young people within our area, where 1 in 3 children live in poverty. The Hive exists to help young people feel happy, healthy and to thrive within their community. Always putting young people first, they combine high quality youth work with inspiring activities in an inclusive, safe space. We are delighted to announce that an astonishing £33,000 was raised on the night to support the vitally important work of this exceptional local charity. We pay tribute to all those who were so generous in responding to this call to action – thank you!

Ruth Wood, CEO at Mersey Maritime, commented on the event, stating: “These awards are a testament to the exceptional standards and world-class expertise on display within the Liverpool City Region’s maritime community. The sector contributes over £5 billion to the region’s economy, supporting over 45,000 jobs. Mersey Maritime was established to create an ecosystem that champions one of the most diverse maritime regions globally. We are honoured to have played a role in fostering a thriving and internationally significant maritime cluster, built on collaboration and excellence. Our commitment remains unchanged: to support job creation and champion industry growth. We were delighted once again to recognise so much success in our region over the last year with yet another successful Mersey Maritime Industry Awards.”

Katherine Fairclough, CEO of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “The Maritime Sector has always been a vital part of our city region’s economy and we have led the way ever since the world’s first commercial wet dock opened here in 1715. The excellence on show at these awards clearly demonstrates that leading role continuing today.

“Through exciting developments including the Liverpool City Region Freeport and the Mersey Tidal Power project, the Combined Authority, led by Mayor Steve Rotheram and our six Local Council Leaders, is working to ensure that proud history of entrepreneurship and innovation contributes to a bright future for our whole city region.”

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “For over two decades, Mersey Maritime has championed the world-class businesses and organisations across the North West’s thriving maritime sector, and I’d like to congratulate the worthy nominees and winners for their success at this year’s awards event.

“Liverpool has a strong and historic maritime past but it’s also fantastic to see industry’s commitment to the sector’s future, reflecting the shared goal of both industry and government to boost UK wide trade, decarbonise, and improve the air quality in our coastal communities as we build a greener, cleaner maritime industry.”

The full list of Mersey Maritime Industry Awards winners is as follows: 

Business of the Year, sponsored by Maersk: Stone Marine Shipcare Ltd
Diversity Champion Award, sponsored by Peel Ports Group: Maersk
Commitment to Maritime in LCR Award: Brian Melia – Cruise Liverpool
Employer of the Year, sponsored by Kays Medical: National Oceanography Centre
Future Skills Award, sponsored by Nautilus International: Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd
International Trade Award, sponsored by Brookes Bell: Royal HaskoningDHV
Maritime Professional Services Award, sponsored by BAE Systems: Hill Dickinson LLP
Net Zero Award, sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University: Svitzer
Positive Impact Award, sponsored by Cammell Laird: Battle of the Atlantic Memorial
Rising Star Award, sponsored by Royal Navy: Leah Rogers – Thetius
SME of The Year, sponsored by Denholm Logistics: The SeaKing Group
Technology & Innovation Award, sponsored by MTC: Brookes Bell

To view all wTo view all winners, click here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Mersey Maritime, a regional cluster organisation for the maritime industry in the Liverpool City Region and greater North West England, will be part of the forthcoming London International Shipping Week (LISW) of 11-15 September.

This year, Mersey Maritime is hosting ‘Mersey on the Thames‘, an exclusive drinks and networking session hosted by Shadow Maritime Minister, Mike Kane MP of the Terrace of the House of Commons.

Alongside our host Mike Kane MP, Shadow Transport Minister, guests will hear from Ruth Wood, Interim CEO of Mersey Maritime and Stephen Carr, Group Commercial Director of Peel Ports Group.

Guests will hear about opportunities within the Liverpool City Region and wider North West and ambitions for the region to become the test bed for emerging technologies, decarbonisation and interconnectivity of freight journeys.

As Afloat previously reported, General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House will also be attending LISW, which is one of the most important international shipping and maritime events in the world. Since its conception in September 2013, LISW has grown consistantly and is set to become an even bigger event in 2023, when the shipping world is able to meet again in person and in earnest.

The Mersey on the Thames event which is invitation only, takes place at the terrace overlooking the Thames.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Mersey Maritime, a regional cluster organisation for the Liverpool City Region and North West of England maritime sector, has announced the appointment of Ruth Wood as their Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective 1st July 2023.

Ruth Wood will be stepping-up to the role following the departure of current CEO, Chris Shirling-Rooke who will be leaving Mersey Maritime to take up the position of Chief Executive of Maritime UK.

With over 15 years’ experience working within the maritime industry, Ruth's career has also included 8 years at one of the UK’s largest port groups, the Peel Ports Group.

Over the past 5 years at Mersey Maritime, Ruth has achieved significant milestones and has helped strengthen the organisations position as a leading force within the maritime industry both locally and nationally.

John Hulmes, Chair of Mersey Maritime commented, “Whilst both the Mersey Maritime Board and I are sad to see Chris leave, we are equally delighted that Chris has been given this opportunity to further his career. The post of Chief Executive with Maritime UK is a challenging and exciting position and puts Chris at the very heart of the UK’s maritime industry. We wish him all the best in his new position which he will take up in the early summer.”

John added, “The Mersey Maritime Board unanimously decided to appoint Ruth Wood as the new acting Chief Executive and she will take up this position on July 1st. Ruth’s extensive experience, combined with her passion for the maritime sector, positions her as a key leader within the maritime community".

He added "Her long-standing dedication to the industry enables her to navigate the evolving challenges and drive innovation within Mersey Maritime. Ruth has the full support of the Board and I am sure this will be replicated by Members. Ruth will be ably supported by the rest of the team at Mersey Maritime who will continue to deliver an exciting and relevant programme of events including the nationally acclaimed Mersey Maritime Industry Awards dinner scheduled for 2nd November.”

Ruth Wood commented, “I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead Mersey Maritime during this exciting and transformative time, and look forward to continuing our work to drive growth, jobs, innovation and collaboration across our North West maritime sector – creating a positive impact for our coastal communities.”

Published in Ports & Shipping

This year's Mersey Maritime Industry Awards (MMIA) are set to be the biggest and most high profile yet with the winners being once again determined by the sector itself.

Regional cluster organisation, Mersey Maritime, was delighted to announce the launch yesterday of their industry voting platform which is now live.

The UK’s leading maritime awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of the industry’s most outstanding companies and individuals. The theme for this year’s awards is ‘Our Time is Now’, with a focus on the bright future that lies ahead for the industry.

The industry voting platform was launched to give local, national, and international industry members the opportunity to vote for the final winners. All winners will be unveiled at the awards dinner in Liverpool on Thursday, 10th November at Liverpool Cathedral.

Voting opened yesterday and continues until Friday, 21st October. Mersey Maritime would like to wish all finalists the very best of luck and to remind them not to forget to promote themselves vigorously in the next couple of weeks!

To vote now, click Mersey Maritime's website which has a list of the Industry Awards 2022 finalists.  


Published in Ports & Shipping

Across the Irish Sea is where Mersey Maritime has launched their eighth annual industry awards and is calling for maritime and logistics businesses throughout the Merseyside region and the greater North West of England to start preparing their entries for 2022.

The UK’s leading maritime awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of the industry’s most outstanding companies and individuals. Applications are encouraged from any maritime or maritime related organisation, business and/or individual that operate in, or support, the North West region.

This year the MMIA’s theme will be ‘Our Time is Now’ which will have a particular focus on Mersey Maritime’s 20-year anniversary and look forward to the bright future of the sector. Mersey Maritime was conceived to create an ecosystem, championing and supporting one of the most diverse maritime regions in the UK and has been doing so ever since its founding in 2002.

Awards ceremony 

The awards will take place on Thursday 10 November 2022, in the prestigious location of Liverpool’s iconic Anglican Cathedral. It is expected that 2022 will be the biggest yet with more than 600 industry professionals likely to be in attendance. 

Application process  

Entries for the Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2022 will open later in the week, and can be submitted via the Mersey Maritime website (here).  There are 14 award categories in total which can also be consulted on the website.

The closing date for submitting award entries is Monday 5th September 2022.

Every application received is assessed by Mersey Maritime’s industry judging panel who select the finalists for each category following a vigorous process. The winner of each category will once again be determined by the industry itself, with an industry voting platform launching in early October 2022.

To view the award categories, apply for an award or buy tickets/tables, please visit Mersey Maritime’s website

Published in Ports & Shipping

#NewMaritimeHub - A newly opened ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’ to drive growth in the UK maritime sector has been opened in Birkenhead, Liverpool City Region.

The hub, based near Cammell Laird shipyard is celebrating the formal completion of its recent fit-out and is now planning a busy agenda of events, seminars, training and networking.

Completion of Phase 1 of the Maritime Knowledge Hub is a joint venture between Mersey Maritime, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Wirral Council on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The fit-out was completed by Wirral based Beech Group, which specialises in demolition, but have a refurbishment division.

The facilities include serviced business start-up space and support, a conference space and a state-of-the-art facility to help manufacturers design, test and build products or services. The partners will also aim to market LJMU’s fully immersive ship’s bridge simulator training suite to new domestic and global markets.

Mersey Maritime CEO Chris Shirling-Rooke said the hub wants to engage with small business owners as ‘the backbone of the economy’ from across the region.

“We have a clear message to businesses – join Mersey Maritime and grow,” he said. “The hub is designed to galvanise the opportunities for UK businesses in the maritime industry by following the trail blazed by businesses like Peel, Bibby and Cammell Laird. Already the sector drives 13pc of Merseyside’s GDP and is worth more than £3billion. That figure is set to grow with the maritime industry globally worth more than £3000billion. We just need a fraction of that business to fuel our growth. The hub is aimed at firms already trading in maritime and also those who see opportunity to diversify.”

Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at LJMU, said: “The Maritime Knowledge Hub represents an exciting first step in the partnership between LJMU and Mersey Maritime.The re-fit programme has given us a base from which to provide new and niche activities that can bring together business and academia, providing local firms and wider industry with the skilled staff they need to grow and compete.”

Beech group Managing Director Chris Wainwright said: “Beech’s involvement as main contractor in the fit-out of Phase 1 of the Maritime Knowledge Hub has given us a high profile opportunity to showcase the range of services we can provide. The hub will be a magnet for firms from across the region who are looking to grow their business, upskill their people and gain access to industry supply chains,”

He added: “Beech Group is exactly the type of business that can benefit from membership of Mersey Maritime. We are an ambitious, growing SME with a range of services that are supplied into the maritime and related sectors. Membership of Mersey Maritime has helped open doors and our client list now includes Cammell Laird, Liverpool John Moores University and Essar.”

Mr Shirling-Rooke said by joining Mersey Maritime its team can help businesses engage with the hub and identify how to grow and diversify into the maritime industry.

“We can introduce businesses with useful contacts through the hub to help them see how they could become part of the supply chain - and the beauty of the maritime sector is its breadth,” he said. “All types and sizes of companies can expand within it, from purely marine businesses to professional services, construction, transport, engineering and hospitality. In addition, maritime presents glittering opportunities for exports sales and a key role of the hub will be to help local businesses find overseas customers and clients. So we urge ambitious companies, large and small, that want help and support to join Mersey Maritime and grow.”

Mr Shirling-Rooke said the hub will focus on Merseyside’s core strengths in manufacturing, research and development, innovation and education and training.

Published in Ports & Shipping

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago