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Commercial marine businesses urged to enter Innovate UK competition

21st Apr 2020 5 min read

This is the latest weekly update from Santander’s commercial marine team on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our clients and the sector as a whole.


Santander is working closely with our customers and partners across the commercial marine sector as they focus on the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. One such partner, British Marine (BM), is supporting its members through the launch of a new weekly webinar, aimed at providing the latest news and advice for the industry. Registration for the webinars can be accessed here, while the BM microsite has further guidance.

Subsea UK urged marine businesses to enter Innovate UK’s £20m coronavirus innovation response competition, the aim was to encourage firms to focus on the emerging needs of society as it deals with the pandemic and its aftermath. The contest closed on Friday 17 April. For more information and to enter, click here

On Wednesday 22 April, Santander is hosting a webinar concentrating on commercial marine opportunities in Brazil. Members from the Santander UK team will be joined by our colleagues from Santander Brazil as well as representatives from the Department for International Trade. The webinar will provide an overview of commercial marine activity in Brazil, while also highlighting the supply chain possibilities for UK firms. For more information visit our webinar page here

Spotlight set to fall on OEMs

We expect to see an increasing focus in the weeks ahead on the issues facing the global supply chain for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across all sectors. Major OEMs are generally well positioned to survive the pandemic thanks to factors such as geographical diversification and solid levels of capitalisation. The same may not be the case for many of the smaller businesses that make up their supply bases.

Looking back to the financial crisis, it is estimated the total number of global suppliers fell by as much as 20% in the recession that followed. There are increasing concerns today that the distance many OEMs have put between themselves and their supply chains may work to their disadvantage when they come to ramp production back up as the coronavirus crisis begins to subside.

As such, OEMs may decide to use the current downturn as an opportunity to analyse their supply chains. This will enable them to prioritise the throughflow of the parts and raw materials most critical for revenue generation, rather than simply taking steps to support the suppliers where they spend the most money. As well as helping production get back up to speed more quickly, this approach also has the potential to resolve longer-term sustainability issues.

Manufacturers welcome government support

The measures put in place by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to support businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis have been largely welcomed by manufacturers’ organisation MakeUK. Ahead of the Easter break, Sunak revealed that £90bn of business interruption loans have now been approved, supporting almost 1,000 firms. A further £1.9bn has been provided in the form of corporate finance.