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. It is not surprising then, that BAE Systems has recently been awarded a £600m contract to support half of the Royal Navy's surface fleet at HM Naval Base Portsmouth. This will see the dockyard 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 Land Rover BAR 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.
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 is working closely with the University, the city council, BAE Systems and QinetiQ on a new University Technical College to open in Portsmouth in September 2017. It will be a sub-regional centre for maritime, marine and advanced engineering training, aligned with the strategic direction of regional employers.
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.
From the Portsdown Technology Park, QinetiQ provide world-class support and new technology platforms for the marine and maritime sector, particularly in testing and evaluating mission critical maritime defence and naval systems. QinetiQ provides services and solutions for all naval platforms and has amassed a huge amount of naval combat and complex systems experience.
The University of Southampton is also building a new towing tank at the recently opened Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, which the university shares with Lloyds;s Rigister's Global Technology Centre. They aim to provide a world calss facility supporting reserach and teaching for commercial ship model testing, across the areospace, energy and transportation sectors.