Robert Courts replaces Kelly Tolhurst as UK Maritime Minister

Maritime UK Director calls on the new Maritime Minister to help secure government funding ‘to turbocharge the move towards net-zero in the UK.’  

Kelly Tolhurst, who moves to another post within a UK government ministry, had only been Maritime Minister since February, replacing Nusrat Ghani who had been instrumental in the development of the UK’s Clean Maritime Plan. At the publication of the Plan in 2019, Ghani had noted the UK’s intention to become ‘the first country in the world to commit to zero emissions in domestic waters by 2050’.

Robert Courts, the new Maritime Minister, was previously Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Transport, having also served as a PPS in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from January to July 2018 and to the Secretary of State for the Environment from August 2019 until February 2020.

UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Bob Sanguinetti commented on the ministerial change:

‘I wish [Kelly Tolhurst] the very best for her new role and I look forward to working with Robert Courts as we look to take advantage of future opportunities for the UK shipping industry including tackling climate change and the Covid-19 recovery.’

Ben Murray, Director of Maritime UK, also welcomed the appointment of Courts, noting that: ‘He enters the £42 billion sector as we are on the cusp of one of the most exciting times in the history of UK maritime.

‘With the sector having been in the spotlight thanks to its work in keeping the country supplied with food, energy, and medicine through COVID-19, we now turn our attention to green recovery.’

He continued: In the run-up to the Autumn Spending Review, he has the chance to help secure the £1bn investment we need from the Chancellor to turbocharge the move towards net-zero in the UK. Investment is needed now to innovate the new green ways of moving vessels to meet our net-zero obligations.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes