As home to the Royal Navy, the world's first mechanised production process and the world's first dry dock, Portsmouth has always been at the cutting edge of the marine and maritime sector. Today things are no different, with the city's global reputation as a centre of marine and maritime excellence bolstered by continuing investment and expansion.
Many of Portsmouth's marine companies are at the forefront of their field and exporting all over the world. BAE Systems has been awarded a £600m contract to support half of the Royal Navy's surface fleet at HM Naval Base Portsmouth. Overall the dockyard will benefit from £100m of infrastructure developments ahead of the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, which will guarantee the high tech base for the next fifty years.
The city's maritime history was also a key reason for the Ben Ainslie Racing America's Cup team choosing it as their base in 2014, as a centre for technical and maritime excellence and the home of its design, maintenance and sailing teams. INEOS Team UK has its HQ on the Camber, and working towards bringing home the 36th America's Cup in 2021.
Portsmouth is home to Britain's most successful municipal port, offering more routes than any other UK ferry port. In 2014, more than 2 million passengers travelled through Portsmouth International Port on continental and Channel Islands services alone.
The city's marine and maritime sector is underpinned by well-established trade bodies, a dedicated supply chain, and extensive talent pool within the city and wider Solent region.
The engineering skills to meet the needs of the marine and maritime sector are nurtured here. The University of Portsmouth trains many highly skilled graduates each year and the Royal Navy, the University, the city council, BAE Systems and QinetiQ worked together to open a new University Technical College in Portsmouth, a sub-regional centre for maritime, marine and advanced engineering training, aligned with the strategic direction of regional employers and with a specialist STEM curriculum.
The south coast is recognised as the UK's leading marine and maritime hub, with world-renowned research institutions and sector-leading innovative businesses. Strong maritime heritage and cutting-edge R&D attract a growing network of scientific, advanced engineering and high-tech manufacturing companies. With convenient freight and passenger ports and airports, trading overseas is easy. The UK's marine sector makes a £19bn GVA contribution. The south coast continues to build on its competitive strengths and unrivalled reputation for quality and plans to grow even stronger in the years ahead. The great opportunities in Portsmouth have recently been promoted through 'Investment in GREAT BRITAIN' as part of the opportunities of the south coast.
The Portsdown Technology Park will soon be developed as a national centre for maritime systems. Meanwhile, Solent LEP has invested £459,492 on a new National Autonomy Centre in the Solent, with world-leading test facilities including air and surface test vehicle and a secure maritime communications network.