Marine industry booming in the east

THE east of England's leisure marine industry is worth a third of a billion pounds, according to latest figures.

THE east of England's leisure marine industry is worth a third of a billion pounds, according to latest figures.

Research published by the British Marine Federation shows the region contributed £339.9 towards the total UK industry turnover - a 12.3% slice of the market.

More than 4,500 people are currently employed in the sector within the east of England.

In the 2005/06 financial year, the total UK turnover was £2.8billion, with manufacturing as a key component. Its Value Added contribution - the principal measure of its national economic benefit - equated to more than £1billion.

According to the BMF study, which was published at the Collins Stewart London Boat Show yesterday , the industry has grown consistently by an average rate of 7.8% a year since 1997, with more than 4,300 firms employing in excess of 35,000 full-time staff.

The study found that the manufacture and distribution of leisure and small commercial craft accounted for £1.01billion or 36.5% of the industry's total turnover. The next largest contributors were consumer services providers at £944million or 34% of total turnover, and third in economic importance was the manufacture and distribution of equipment, which accounted for £540million or 19.5% of total turnover.

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A third of the industry's £2.8billion turnover - £918million - was raised through the export of products and services, nearly half of which was from the export of manufactured boats.

Small businesses account for half the industry's 35,000 employees and made the greatest contribution towards total revenue and created £1.18billion, the research found.

British Marine Federation chief executive Rob Stevens, speaking from the London Boat Show, said it was an industry which was managing to succeed in the face of increased global competition.

“The leisure marine industry in Britain continues to go from strength to strength, and remains a successful manufacturing sector and a vital element of the British tourism industry,” he said.

“The marketplace remains confident, and it is great to see that the industry is employing over 35,000 people.

“The industry itself prides itself on the high quality of its products and services, and by maintaining its innovative edge has managed to success in a time when British manufacturing faces increasing global competition.”

Joel Plasco, chief executive of Collins Stewart, said: “At a time when the UK economy is strong and the FTSE 100 has recently reached its highest level for over six years, Collins Stewart's private wealth management business is seeing increasing wealth creation in the UK.

“This thriving economy is fuelling the growing UK leisure marine industry by driving both industry demand and investment, underpinning the UK's excellent reputation for high quality marine products and services.”

Sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk