Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visits South Shields to open new maritime innovation hub

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has visited South Shields to open the United Kingdom’s first maritime innovation hub.

By Gavin Ledwith
Thursday, 04 July, 2019, 15:08

The 2050 Innovation Hub is the brainchild of host the Port of Tyne and PD Ports, Nissan, Connected Places Catapult, Accenture, Royal HaskoningDHV and Ubisoft.

The partners will work together to develop solutions to the technological challenges facing the maritime sector and the wider logistics industry both nationally and globally.

They are also looking at ways of attracting more women to their industries, a greater number of younger recruits and a more diverse workforce overall.

Thirty people, who are mainly employed by the partners already, will initially work at the Port of Tyne’s Compass House office although that figure could increase as the hub develops.

After officially unveiling the hub on Thursday, Mr Grayling said: “Ports are vital to the UK’s economy and the Port of Tyne is no different – driving trade and supporting key businesses, such as Tetley and Nissan, to deliver to their consumers.

“The British maritime sector is world famous for driving innovation.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

From left, PD Ports chief executive Frans Calje, Chris Grayling, Port of Tyne chief executive Matt Beeton, Accenture's Helen Baker, Royal Haskoning's Craig Huntbach and James Rambotham, North East Chamber of Commece chief executive.

“The innovation hub is a fantastic way to increase efficiency, making the our ports more attractive to businesses at home and abroad as well as ensuring the UK continues to lead the way in maritime technology for decades to come.”

Matt Beeton, the chief executive of the Port of Tyne, added: “We’re delighted to launch the UK’s first innovation bub and welcome the support of all our partners in driving innovation for the benefit not just of the maritime sector, but also the global logistics and supply chain.

“It’s important that we harness skills and innovation from all industrial sectors to develop our global proposition and enhance our competitiveness”.

Frans Calje, the chief executive of PD Ports, said: “Northern ports need to collaborate with manufacturers and technology partners to increase their global competitiveness and rebalance the economy.

“The 2050 Innovation Hub will enable us to share knowledge and expertise to drive revolutionary change in the maritime industry powered by advancing technologies.”