Investment Based on U.S. Commitment to ‘Private Sector First’ Philosophy Announcement Coincides with Annual National Dredging Meeting in Washington, DC Washington, DC._WEEKS MARINE Inc. (WMI), an ENR top 100 construction contractor with deep roots in the New York maritime community and based in Cranford, NJ, today formally announces two major additions to its considerable dredge, tugboat, booster, hopper barge, and industrial workboat fleet. By the end of 2011, the Weeks 315, a new ocean class, 30-inch, hydraulic cutter suction dredge will join Weeks Marine’s large and diverse pipeline dredge fleet. Approximately two years later, a new large class, 8,500 cubic yard hopper dredge, the Weeks 475, will become WMI’s third hopper dredge. The Weeks 475 will be WMI’s largest, fastest, most fuel efficient, most powerful pumping, and most highly automated hopper dredge. The dredge doubles WMI’s current hopper dredge capacity. In fact, both new dredges will be the most advanced US vessels in their respective categories. They are designed specifically for conditions found offshore of the U.S. coast, and are part of WMI’s three-year, $200m plus capital investment program in five vessels.
“The two new dredges alone, built in U.S. shipyards, represent new investment exceeding $125m and will result in the creation of 125 permanent new well-paying jobs,” said Richard S. Weeks, WMI President. “I am very optimistic about the future of the U.S. marketplace. Both the growth of international trade and the U.S. seaport industry, and the wide acceptance of beach nourishment and coastal restoration as the shore protection option of choice, call for new energy efficient tools to be brought into the marketplace. I am exceedingly proud of our team as we put together these two projects, vessels which will provide a strong platform for our future growth.”
Construction of the Weeks 315 is currently underway in an Ohio River shipyard. The new dredge is the product of WMI’s in-house engineering effort. The keel has been laid, all major components are on order, and completion is scheduled for an end-of-year delivery.
The Weeks 475’s engineering package was developed jointly by WMI and IHC MERWEDE. The keel is scheduled to be laid in October, 2011. Both vessels will be equipped with EPA tier II engines and will feature the latest in world class dredging technology, including state of the art AC drives to power the pumps, winches, cutter, jetting and other systems, all of which will be controlled by fully integrated and advanced automated systems.
“The new dredges will add substantial capacity to the domestic dredging fleet, and coupled with WMI’s dredging expertise, strong field management, and formidable support network, will significantly enhance our competitiveness in the marketplace,” said Senior VP, Dredging Division Eric Ellefsen. “WEEKS MARINE prides itself in being a leader in the dredging industry. The expansion of our dredging fleet demonstrates our commitment to better serving our customers, particularly the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Navy.”
“While the U.S. dredging industry is strong, and our competitors have added substantial capabilities over the last decade, these two investments will contribute even further to the overall capabilities and productivity of the US dredging industry,” continued Mr. Ellefsen . “We are dedicated to building and operating the most technologically advanced, fuel efficient, and environmentally sensitive equipment in the market place.”