Skip to main content

British Marine research shows positive growth for UK small commercial marine sector

Published on: 03 July 2018

cheetah

Cheetah Marine, a small commercial workboat builder on the Isle of Wight

British Marine, the membership organisation leading the UK’s marine industry, has today (Wednesday 4 July) launched the findings of the next stage of its 'first of its kind' research on the current state of the UK small commercial marine market in 2018.

Launched at Seawork International, Europe’s largest commercial workboat event, the report is, in part, an aid to the British Marine member companies operating in the sector and who are exhibiting to showcase their export and investment potential.

British Marine’s Chief Officer of Membership and Services Sarah Dhanda commented: “The research has revealed positive signs of recovery in the industry. After a decline in revenues and business outlook since 2014, an influx of private investment in offshore renewables, combined with growth in secondary markets, from marine aquaculture to passenger boats, has led to a recovery in this sector.”

Revenue figures listed in the 2018 report show growth of 3%, reaching a figure of £408 million, with overall business outlook among small commercial marine businesses climbing to 47%, its highest point since 2014. The positive outlook is in contrast to the previous year’s decline in revenue by 3%, following a chain of negative events, including the slowing of offshore windfarm development, leading to intense competition for remaining contracts, and macro-economic pressures, including the depreciation of Sterling following the EU referendum in June 2016.

Sarah Dhanda said: “While offshore energy commands the fortunes of the sector, we are delighted to see there are green shoots of growth in other markets. Harbour, port and shipping support operations are expanding, with growth expected to continue in light of the UK’s departure from the EU.”

The report also highlighted areas for concern, with those surveyed citing the absence of skilled employees being a potential issue when growing businesses. The lack of long-term contracts was also raised as an ongoing concern.

Sarah Dhanda added: “This report is key to not only identifying the upward trends in the sector, but also to give us the opportunity to explore areas of apprehension and, in turn, formulate the best ways to support our members with these challenges.”

The full report is available for British Marine members to download here.