UK Unveils $5.2 Billion National Shipbuilding Strategy

type 45
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a Type 45 destroyer (Courtesy 10 Downing Street)

Published Mar 10, 2022 11:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

The United Kingdom plans to pump $5.2 billion into its domestic shipbuilding industry over the next three years in order to revamp the sector's competitiveness and create new jobs.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government has lined up funding for the industry with the aim of delivering a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels over the next 30 years. The ships will be built for the government and for related entities.

The funding accompanies the UK's refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), which will outline how the government will support shipyards across Britain to train workers, drive technology development and ensure the industry delivers on next-generation challenges.

“The NSS 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,” said Johnson.

He added that shipbuilding has been in the UK’s blood for centuries and the government wants to ensure it remains at the heart of British industry for generations to come. “This will ensure the UK is rightly seen as a shipbuilding power across the world,” he said. 

The financing commitment follows repeated promises by the Johnson administration of the government’s commitment to reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry, which currently supports 42,600 jobs and contributes more than $3.6 billion to the UK economy - roughly 0.1 percent of Britain's total GDP. 

Defense shipbuilding is key to the plan. Under the NSS, the UK seeks to build more new Type 31 frigates - not only for Royal Navy, but also for allies. Poland has contracted with Babcock to deliver three new warships based on the Type 31 design.

As part of the strategy, the Department for Transport will also invest $270 million in the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK-SHORE) to fund R&D into zero-emission vessels and infrastructure. It is among the largest national investments in green shipping R&D announced to date. 
UK-SHORE will help to tackle barriers to investment in clean maritime technologies, including investment in port infrastructure.