Set Up a Maritime Business in the United Kingdom

How to Set Up a Maritime Business in the UK It’s time to don your captain’s hat as 3E Accounting looks at how to set up a maritime business in the UK.

The maritime sector is both global and dynamic, and in the United Kingdom, it is considered an export intensive sector. Pre-pandemic statistics indicate that it contributed GBP12 billion to exports. The UK Government’s five-year maritime plan has set its sights on growing the ocean economy to USD3 trillion by 2030. The UK’s ports also handle 5% of global maritime freight. It is an industry that holds much promise as we move out of the shadow of the pandemic. Here are a few insights on how to set up a maritime business in the UK.


A Tsar of Maritime Business

The UK’s Department of International Trade has ambitions to place the UK as a marine and trading power. To that end, its Export Strategy is a comprehensive initiative to grow and support the maritime business.

In the UK, the maritime business is not just about sailing your ships. It is actually a complex hive of industry that includes the following:

  • Marine service providers and suppliers of equipment.
  • Marine and superyacht manufacturers.
  • Maritime leisure industry.
  • R&D of the marine and seafaring sector.
  • Offshore energy generation.
  • Marine technology development, including cybersecurity, autonomous systems, etc.
  • Marine engineering, including refit, design, maintenance, etc.
  • Education, training, and certification.
  • Ports and terminals.

Once you know which part of the maritime industry to base your business upon, you will need to register your business. The UK offers a variety of business vehicles, including operating as a sole trader or partnership. You can also choose to incorporate as a limited company or an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership). Each type of entity has its pros and cons, and narrowing down your choices can be confusing. Business incorporation firms such as 3E Accounting can assist in guiding you to make the most appropriate choice.

After you have registered with HRMC, the UK’s tax authority, do open a bank account for your business. You may also want to set up a website and consider renting serviced office space. The most crucial aspect of your business should be compliance matters. Approvals required by the maritime industry are quite varied, and the UK Government website is a good place o start. Marine licensing is regulated by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Amongst others, licensing and permits will be needed for:

  • Dredging and construction.
  • Deposit, removal, or incineration of any substance.
  • Seabed survey.
  • Planning permissions from the local authorities.
  • Harbour orders.

You may also need a ship radio licence from Ofcom and maritime certifications and qualifications. These are offered by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Lloyd’s Register Marine Training, etc.

To garner more information on how to set up a maritime business in the UK, get in touch with us. 3E Accounting specialises in assisting with end-to-end company incorporation. This includes company formation as well as administrative needs such as human resource, accounting, and legal matters. Our business solutions are digitally driven, offering customisable, comprehensive, and innovative results for the discerning entrepreneur. Contact 3E Accounting today to experience the world of business with a 21st-century suite of enterprise solutions.

How to Set Up a Maritime Business in the UK