Looking forward there are going to be some serious challenges within the Scottish Maritime scene. There will also be significant opportunities. In order to capitalise on these, we will have to think smarter, shed previously held truths and be prepared to move quickly – waiting for things to become “normal” again is not an option for the majority of us.
Overused clichés have been spreading almost as virulently as the Covid virus itself however our businesses have been resilience tested in a way nobody imagined four months ago. None of us would have willingly plunged ourselves into utilising technology without a great deal of planning and testing but that is what we had to do. Lifting social media applications from youngsters’ bedrooms to mainstream lifeline business services happened so quickly and seamlessly. It has allowed us to carry on our businesses uninterrupted for the majority.
It would be interesting to carry out a survey of business firsts utilising digital technology over the last two months.
Pre-existing challenges arising from climate change and geo-politics (including Brexit) and their impact on international trade and our sector in particular have not gone away.
It is against this backdrop that the Scottish Maritime Cluster has had to review its plans and consider how best to continue its supporting role in facilitating the increase in GVA among the members. Our conclusion was that we needed to accelerate those plans and increase our resources in order to deliver within shorter time scales and against a challenging backdrop. Consequently, we have appointed two Executive Directors: Duncan Cunningham and Brian Fulton. Both have spent their careers in the maritime industry and bring to the Cluster different but complimentary skills.
We are able to appoint the new Executive Directors thanks to the continued support and faith shown in our purpose by Scottish Enterprise. Future support will be entirely contingent on us (the members, supported by our Executive Directors) meeting our stated GVA ambitions.
Duncan and Brian will work cooperatively to support business growth, for example by generating joint marketing, innovation or skills. Digitalisation and reducing our environmental impact will be two key areas where they will help to bring together academia, innovation centres, and non-maritime industries so that our members get every advantage possible from exposure to new solutions that they can adopt for their benefit and seek new collaborate partnerships to fully exploit. In parallel and as complimentary work streams, our Executive Directors will be looking at how the Cluster can assist on local sourcing and skills development opportunities.
Duncan and Brian will feature in more and more of our communications. Since communications is a two-way process they will be looking for feed-back and suggestions from the membership on what more we can do for you.
The Board very much looks forward to the next occasion when we can meet in person however, as we have all had to get used to, virtual meetings and workshops will be the norm for the next while.
Whilst we prioritise safety we must also consider the welfare of our future and learn how these last few months can become a springboard for the future growth of our cluster. The Scottish Maritime Cluster has positioned itself to play a valuable role in supporting our Members and to develop the relationships between them.
Douglas W. Lang
Scottish Maritime Cluster Ltd.
Duncan Cunningham: Telephone: 0141 338 6768
Mobile 07785 256047
Brian Fulton: Mobile: 07966 461283