cargo shipping

£4bn funding package for UK shipbuilders to deliver 150 new vessels

Image credit: Dreamstime

The government has announced a £4bn funding package for UK regional shipbuilding which could deliver a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels.

The domestic shipbuilding sector has been struggling for some time due to strong competition from China and other Asian countries.

But the government hopes its new multi-billion pound investment will help to stimulate the industry for the next 30 years with orders coming in for naval and civil vessels for the UK government as well as devolved administrations.

The £4bn in funds for the new vessels was originally announced in both the 2020 Spending review and the 2021 Autumn Budget.

The funding comes as the Ministry of Defence prepares to publish its refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) today, which will outline how the government will support UK shipyards across the nation to upskill workers, create high-quality jobs and drive technology development.

The strategy also builds on the UK’s increased support for European defence capability in the face of rising Russian aggression, with UK defence giant Babcock recently being chosen as Poland’s preferred partner to deliver three new warships based on the UK’s Type 31 design.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is visiting a Merseyside shipyard today where he will meet apprentices and shipbuilding experts. The UK’s shipbuilders currently support 42,600 jobs across the UK and contribute more than £2.8bn to the economy.

“Shipbuilding has been in our blood for centuries and I want to ensure it remains at the heart of British industry of generations to come,” Johnson said.

“The National Shipbuilding Strategy will transform this important and crucial industry, creating jobs, driving technology development and upskilling the shipbuilders of tomorrow, ensuring we are levelling up across every dock, port and shipyard in the UK.

“This will ensure the UK is rightly seen as a shipbuilding power across the world.”

The NSbS Refresh will also establish a new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, led by the Department for Education. It will work with industry and training providers across the UK to identify and address skills gaps badly needed by the sector.

The Department for Transport will also invest £206m in the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK-SHORE) to match-fund research and development in zero-emission vessels and infrastructure and ensure our place as global leader in green technology.

In September, the UK shipping industry called for greater efforts for the global shipping sector to pursue a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The shipping industry currently moves approximately 90 per cent of world trade and is responsible for around 2.4 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

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