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New 'Maritime Knowledge Hub' Opens Across the Irish Sea

28th June 2016
The newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, UK is to drive the maritime sector notably in targeting small businesses The newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, UK is to drive the maritime sector notably in targeting small businesses Photo: Mersey Maritime

#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
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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