Fathom Q: How important is it for maritime clusters to collaborate?

A maritime cluster is a basic business concept that encourages others to talk and get to know one another.

According to Professor Michael Porter, Harvard Business School, a cluster is a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities.

In this week’s Fathom Q, we ask ‘How important is it for maritime clusters to collaborate?”

Nawfal al Jourani, Chief Officer, Dubai Maritime Cluster 

Because shipping is international we should look at competition in a different perspective.  We need a geographical distribution of quality of excellence, a shared language, a business mode.  The components of clusters are not identical in every region.  It is critical for us to see what distinguishes us in each way and to grow this and contribute globally. Each maritime cluster has its own added value.  It must build excellence within its own environment and share with others to grow businesses.  We are not competing with other clusters, we shouldn’t be as we conduct our own.

Dick Welsh, Director, Isle of Man Ship Registry

For the Isle of Man, we started with the ship registry and have grown that.  We have recognised that we can do part of the sector but not all.  We’re not strategically located, and we have no shipbuilding yard for example, if anything we’re more of an offshore service centre.  But we can do things other clusters can’t. It is important to work with these other clusters as each cluster will bring their own benefits.


Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO Mersey Maritime 

Mersey Maritime is a very small cluster compared with others.  In Liverpool shipping is less than 8%.  Every cluster is so different and has different strengths.  We work closely with the Isle of Man for example for the benefit of both of us.  There will be grey areas in each cluster so competitive collaboration is essential.


Kaity Arsoniadis-Stein, Executive Director, Vancouver International Maritime Centre 

Maritime clusters need to collaborate and help one another out.  They should help companies pick the best location to set up business in and not compete against one another in this.  Collaboration between clusters is key.




Main image: Panelists at the LISW Global Maritime Cluster Round Table Debate held September 11, 2017.


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