Merseyside shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird has formally started the second five year cycle of its biggest single contract.
Work began in June 2013 on the second period of Cammell Laird’s through-life support cluster contract to maintain nine of the 13 ships in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) flotilla. The cluster contract was first awarded to Cammell Laird in 2008 and following reviews of performance and value for money the contract was extended for a further five years to 2018.
Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret CBE said the company is delighted to begin the ‘second chapter’ of the cluster contract which he said provides the bedrock on which the company can grow and expand.
“Based upon the strong foundations we have jointly laid, we look forward immensely to working in collaboration with the MOD for another five years to further improve value for money and levels of ship availability,” he said. “In 2012 alone we undertook five major refits in Birkenhead and numerous maintenance periods around the world – including the Bahamas, the Falklands, South Africa and the Gulf States. The contract has seen Cammell Laird provide a truly ‘global reach’ support service over the past five years, with maintenance to RFA ships carried out on every major continent.”
Head of Commercially Supported Shipping for Defence Equipment & Support, Commodore (RFA) David Preston OBE said: “Cammell Laird has a proven track record in supporting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary on a worldwide basis – this ability to support the Navy wherever it is deployed is critical to UK Defence.”
Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said: “The last five years has seen us build a formidable relationship with DE&S,” he said. “The joint DE&S and Cammell Laird teams are now very experienced in working together. They really know each other well and they know the vessels inside out. As a result there is real continuity of support and engineering with the same teams carrying out work across the UK and the world. This results in more preparation time, more in depth understanding and knowledge of the vessels, better specifications, reduced costs, increased vessel availability and a focus on continuous improvement and innovation.”
Mr Syvret said thanks to the long term nature of the cluster contract the company has been able to invest heavily in its workforce and infrastructure ensuring the company can meet the RFA’s requirements.
“The RFA contract has helped us to invest £35m in the last five years in our people and facilities,” he said. “Our apprentice programme, run in partnership with the Maritime and Engineering College North West, continues to go from strength to strength with 62 apprentices currently in training while a further 32 have graduated into the business. We have also been able to take a prime role in the creation of a specialist engineering focused University Training College due to be set up in Birkenhead.
“In terms of infrastructure investment we have dredged our wet basin to achieve a minimum draft of 8.5m, and we have developed wet berths to provide half a mile of berthing facilities. We have further regenerated the modular construction shipbuilding hall with new state of the art electric overhead travelling cranes. In addition we have demolished redundant buildings to allow the construction of a 25m wide roadway that significantly improves our ability to transport large structures.”