Merseyside UK shipyard and marine engineering services company Cammell Laird is reporting a strong first four months of 2019, with 25 ships arriving for drydocking and repairs during the period.
In total Cammell Laird has received 11 ferries at its famous Birkenhead site from January to the end of April, along with 14 other vessels.
The successful start to the year has involved work carried out for 13 different clients, aided by repeat business for a number of customers. The period also saw inaugural arrival of the 39,000 tonne Tide-class tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tidespring marking the start of two Through Life Support contracts that will see Cammell Laird maintain nine vessels of the RFA over the next 10 years. The successful re-tender of the RFA contract will also shortly see the arrival of RFA Tiderace, another of the new Tide class tankers as well as the RFA Fort Victoria which completed a £44m refit at Cammell Laird at the end of 2018 and will return for a drydocking period.
Tony Graham, chief operating officer at Cammell Laird, said the workload was similar to the strong start the business made to 2018 in terms of vessel movements for customers including Seatruck, Irish Ferries, Svitzer, Calmac, Mersey Travel, the RFA, Red Funnel, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Smit Kotug, P&O, PetroFac, Geoquip, Stena and the National Environmental Research Council (NERC).
He said: “We have experienced a good start to the year thanks to the high standard of facilities and skills Cammell Laird can offer customers. Notable pieces of work have included the building of the £10m freight ferry the Red Kestrel, which sailed away in April following a nine-month build programme and came after we saw off international competitors to win the contract. We have also completed moon pool installations on the offshore supply ship Toisa Vigilant and retractable thruster installations on the Dublin Swift ferry. The scale and breadth of work Cammell Laird carries out demonstrates the reputation we have built with our customers who trust us to deliver only the best quality workmanship, on time at competitive prices. We are keen to build on this and win more work from new and existing clients.”
Mr Graham said the coming months will see notable work on the offshore supply ship, the Irish Sea Pioneer, which will undergo a refit, including upgrades to the accommodation and power management system, steel works and general drydock specifications.
“We have an active period coming up as we will also finish building the RSS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) polar ship, the biggest commercial shipbuilding project in Britain for 30 years which again we won against fierce international competition,” he said. “This stellar project showcases the world-class skills and infrastructure we have at Cammell Laird. We have bold and ambitious plans to catapult the company further into the shipbuilding market building on the success for the SDA. This including seeking to win the new £1.25billion contract to build five Type 31e warships for the UK MOD with our partner BAE Systems with a decision expected later this year. We are active with the TEAM UK consortium with the Government expected to announce the winning Fleet Solid Support bid in 2020. In addition, later this year we very much look forward to welcoming the first of six Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers as part of a £160million contract to upgrade and modernise the power propulsion systems, a deal we are working on with BAE Systems and BMT. This deal again showcases our complex shipbuilding capabilities.”
Mr Graham added that Cammell Laird can employ up to 1500 workers directly and indirectly at peak times and has 300 suppliers including many local small businesses. The company has further invested £18million in 250 apprentices since 2008, making it one of the largest apprentice programmes in the region providing vital engineering skills helping plug the skills shortage locally. Mr Graham said Cammell Laird is planning to recruit another cohort of apprentices later in the year. He added Cammell Laird plays a key wealth creating role in the Merseyside and UK maritime industry generating £350million for the economy since 2013.