Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Patron of London International Shipping Week 2015, addressed guests at the Welcome Reception at Lancaster House on Tuesday evening with the message that raising awareness of the industry was of prime importance to all sectors of business.
The event was hosted by Maritime UK and Her Majesty's Government.
Speeches were also given by Chairman of Maritime UK Lord Mountevans, and the Secretary of State for Transport The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, MP.
Introducing The Princess Royal, Patrick McLaughlin said: "On behalf of the Government I am pleased to welcome you all here tonight to Lancaster House during London International Shipping Week. London is the capital city of world shipping, home of the Baltic Exchange, Lloyds of London and the IMO, and the UK as a whole is a home for the world's greatest concentration of maritime services. Maritime trading, financing, ship brokering, legal services, insurance - all sectors are investing for growth.
"In recent decades international shipping has undergone incredible change as the result of globalization and the opening of new markets. It is also the result of innovation in the shipping industry. And that is why LISW is so important because it offers the chance to make new connections.
The Princess Royal then addressed the room telling guests that through her work with seafaring charities she has seen how workers out at sea have become "invisible" to many, adding that this is why events like this are so important.
She said: "I would like to thank you for the invitation to become the Royal Patron for London International Shipping Week 2015. Judging by the turnout here tonight it I can see that the event is very well supported. "For the city and the traders the maritime sector is still very important and they recognise that. But for many others that's not true.
"Once upon a time if you wanted to travel you travelled by sea. Everybody understood the importance of the sea to commerce but when people travel now they will probably fly, and this leads to quite astonishing levels of ignorance about the importance of the maritime industry to all areas of our lives. This is quite a worrying concept and means that a high profile event like London International Shipping Week really can make a difference.
"I do hope that those of you who have had the opportunity to visit the many seminars and events that make up London International Shipping Week can take back with them a broader understanding of the importance of the maritime sector."