Secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin has spoken highly of the maritime sector in a recent speech.

According to the draft version published by the Department for Transport, Mr McLoughlin called the UK "a maritime nation" in the speech.

He also said the UK was "determined to remain the world’s pre-eminent maritime centre".

"The UK is still a maritime nation. London is still a maritime city. And we still offer a one stop shop for the global shipping industry," the minister claimed.

He also spoke of the benefits the UK gets as a result of the industry, mentioning the large proportion of imports and exports it carries, for example.

He went on to talk about the role it plays in the nation's car industry and the support it gives in delivering components and materials for manufacturing.

"But far too many people fail to recognise the enormous contribution that sea-going transport makes to our society and our prosperity," the transport secretary later said. Its constant and reliable work keep the sector "out of sight and out of mind" he argued.

He credited London International Shipping Week, which took place recently, and its events with reminding people of the industry's true greatness.

Among other things, he spoke of the government's recognition of how important jobs in the maritime industry are.

"We are determined to see ports, shipping and maritime services continue to create high quality employment for the UK workforce," he said.

He later spoke of the benefits to the economy more generally, through jobs indirectly linked to shipping. This includes supply chain jobs in the freight transport sector, he suggested.

Mr McLoughlin mentioned his previous announcement of a hike in the maritime training budget offered by the government, which took place earlier this month.

"Through good times and bad, shipping, ports and maritime business services have been critical to the UK," he said.

The government had a commitment to working alongside the industry to improve things, he explained.