Protecting Our Economy

Safeguarding our nation's prosperity

Maritime trade is essential to the British way of life, with a huge 95% of Britain’s economic activity depending on the oceans. We import goods worth a breathtaking £524 billion every year – including around half of our food and fuel – so freedom of the seas is truly essential to the UK’s continued prosperity and comfort.

Protecting our economy

Strategic positioning

The majority of maritime trade passes through a handful of global chokepoints. We position our strength to safeguard these vital areas, promising safe passage and encouraging free trade. By being on-hand to act in an instant if necessary, we keep the lifeblood of the UK economy – maritime trade – moving freely.

481.8 million

Tonnes of goods passed through UK ports in 2017

70+

Commissioned ships in the Naval Service

95%

Percentage of UK trade carried by sea

Protecting our economy

Stabilising hotspots

Instability is the enemy of prosperity. It increases both the cost and availability of resources. So in areas where aggressive posturing and potential conflict are a reality, the Royal Navy is on hand to prevent problems before they start. We work proactively – often in partnership with other nations – to maintain the smooth flow of goods and supplies in regions including the Gulf and West Africa.

1980

When dedicated patrols in the Gulf region began

3

Standing Maritime Groups collaborate to ensure stability across NATO

6

Ships that ensure safe passage through Gulf shipping lanes

Protecting our economy

Global presence

Tensions threatening Britain’s interests can arise anywhere at any time. A visible presence the world over helps us curb destabilising behaviour and keep a watchful eye on areas key to the UK’s economic prosperity. From the Caribbean to the Antarctic, we’re poised and ready to act in our nation’s interests. 

2.4 billion

People live within 60 miles of a coastline globally

29

NATO nations collaborate to ensure stability

4

Different ships that deployed to the Asia-Pacific region in 2018

Protecting our economy

Securing UK industry

By protecting critical shipping lanes the Royal Navy safeguards billions of pounds in revenue. If we didn’t, you’d notice the difference on your plate and in your pocket. Nearly half of all our food and energy is imported and 95% of trade reaches our shores by sea. The UK maritime sector adds £37.4 billion gross value.

1/3

Proportion of the world's oil that passes through the Strait of Hormuz

50%

Percentage of UK food and energy is imported by sea

97%

Percentage of UK data that is transferred by underwater cables

Preventing conflict

A vital element of the Royal Navy’s role is keeping the peace, preventing conflict and containing situations before they develop. The Royal Navy’s presence on the world stage sends a powerful message to would-be aggressors.

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Operation Kipion

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980 – we’re part of a 30-nation combined force to stabilise and keep the peace.

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