The UK Chamber of Shipping has responded to latest statistics showing the UK trade gap has widened.
In January 2014 the value of imports rose to £16.8bn, while exports showed a slight decrease to £14.5bn, compared with last month. Consequently the difference between non-EU imports and exports (the trade gap) has increased.
The shipping sector moves 95% of the UK’s international trade and the maritime services industry as a whole contributes £32bn to the UK economy.
Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber said: “Today’s figures are a further sign that, despite a more prosperous economic outlook, the UK ‘s recovery is imbalanced.
“As a country, the recovery is driven heavily by consumer spending, much of which is through the purchase of imported goods.
“In the short term any recovery is welcome, but it is clear that Government urgently needs to make progress in delivering a comprehensive manufacturing strategy both to boost exports and reduce our dependence on imports.
“Seaborne trade is expected to double in the next twenty years, driven by a huge increase in trading with emerging economies outside the EU. This provides huge opportunities for both the shipping industry and the economy as a whole. But the UK will not be able to take full advantage if its economy is driven so heavily by the consumption of imported goods.
“There’s a huge global market out there, and we need to manufacture more, and ship more, to ensure the UK remains at the heart of global trade”.
UK Chamber of Shipping, March 12, 2014