Marine industry's green shoots
The UK leisure and small commercial marine industry is beginning to show signs of recovery with confidence starting to return. Figures being released at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show reveal total revenue for the last year rising slightly to £3.16 billion.
After facing one of the worst trading periods in recent memory, the industry is reporting encouraging signs of improvement. The industry’s annual statistics for 2008/09, compiled by the British Marine Federation, show that revenue rose by 1.9% during 2008/09 to £3.16 billion, though the Value Added Contribution, the principal measure of national economic benefit, was down 4% to £1.042 billion.
The real engine of growth during the difficult period of 2008/09 was in international trade, which was up 13.6% on the previous year to £1.248 billion, or 39.5% of the industry’s total revenue. This is a very significant achievement, demonstrating how the leisure and small commercial marine industry plays a significant role in helping Britain increase its exports.
As could be expected during a global recession, the number of people employed fell 2.5% to circa 34,300.
As well as launching its Industry Key Performance Indicators Report for 2008/09, the BMF has also released its latest trends report which shows that confidence is returning to the industry.
Future six month prospects have improved, with only 12% of respondents now saying they perceive the future negatively, compared to 23% in spring 2009 and 38% in autumn 2008, a noticeable change in people’s views.
Over the last six months there has been an uplift on workload and the value of the order book from spring 2009 in the domestic and overseas markets; with those reporting an increased order book value up 14% to 32% and up 9% to 31% respectively. Workforce levels are more stable now with fewer reporting a decrease compared with six months ago.
Rob Stevens, Chief Executive of the British Marine Federation, said:
“The last year has been incredibly difficult for the UK leisure and small commercial marine industry but it is encouraging to see that businesses are starting to feel more confident about the future.
“We know that we cannot be complacent, and for many companies there may still be difficult times ahead, but we must also acknowledge that through hard work and sound business decision making the industry is well-poised to continue to grow in the future. Our industry has shown resilience through these difficult times and we now look forward to 2010 being a year that will bring gradual recovery and growth.
“In particular, the increase in exports is a real vote of confidence in British design, manufacturing and services from customers and businesses around the world. We should be proud of our reputation for excellence. Additionally, boating holidays and leisure based tourism has continued to be strong.
“The BMF has been working hard on behalf of members throughout the difficult economic situation and we will continue to do so. Our work in liaising with Government and regional agencies to ensure that the industry gets the support it needs, particularly in bank credit, manufacturing, skills and the advance composite technologies has and will be crucial in growing our global market share. We will also continue to offer our members the services that help them run their business efficiently and successfully, as well as offering the vital sales platforms of the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show and the PSP Southampton Boat Show.”
Kicking off today, Friday 8 January, the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show at ExCeL London is set to be 10 of the busiest days in the boating calendar. The Show is London’s leading and most established annual event showcasing boating, marine products and lifestyle.
Running from 8-17 January, the Show will feature hundreds of boats and almost 500 exhibitors showcasing power and sail boats, dinghies, engines, electronics, deck equipment, charter holidays, sailing courses and more. Over 80 new product launches will be taking place at the Show, including 18 global debuts, with first showings of brand new products emerging from most sectors.