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Maritime businesses want say in economic strategy; Paper being sent to decision makers.

Byline: BY SOPHIE FREEMAN

THE umbrella organisation supporting Merseyside's 900 maritime businesses has launched its first salvo in the fight to gain priority in the latest regional economic strategy.

Private sector-led Mersey Maritime is looking to have the marine sector counted as a key sector for regional policy and development in England's North West Regional Economic Strategy document.

A paper highlighting the economic impact of the maritime sector and the significance of the Mersey ports to the region and the UK, will today land on the desks of key decision makers and policy leaders across the North West The paper details an impressive list of key facts and statistics and presents a weighty case for the sector's inclusion in the document.

In previous strategy documents produced by the Northwest Development Agency, maritime has been overlooked.

Acting as a catalyst to facilitate business growth and investment in the sector, Mersey Maritime is the first successful cluster of its kind in the UK, providing support in key areas such as infrastructure, IT, marketing, and education, training and skills.

Jim Teasdale, chief executive of the organisation, said: "The board of directors of Mersey Maritimehas resolved that recognition and inclusion of the maritime industry in the Regional Economic Strategy is our number one priority.

"We are responding to that by demonstrating the importance of the sector - which is considerable - on the economic impact of the region.

"That the evidence to support the inclusion of maritime in the Regional Economic Strategy is powerful cannot be disputed. The economic impact of the industry on the region is worth some pounds 5bn per annum and supports 28,000 jobs. It is an industry that is continuing to grow and we would like to see that reflected in thepriorities set out in the RES." "The paper has been prepared in consultation with board members representing a wide spread of maritime-related organisations and professional services, including Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Atlantic Container Line, Merseytravel, Bibby Line Group and Hill Dickinson, and represents the united voice of the industry in setting out the case for recognition.

In its first two years of operation, Mersey Maritime has enjoyed considerable success in helping to raise the profile of the region's ports and maritime sector, not only on a regional basis, but also nationally and internationally
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2005
Words:384
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