North East ship repair company invests £1m in Teesside docks

A North East ship repair company has invested £1m in its Teesside ship repair facility, including the addition of two dockside cranes.

Two Nelcon cranes which have been landmarks in the Cumbrian port of Workington for the past three decades are poised to become a prominent part of the River Tees skyline at the UK Docks’ Middlesbrough base, helping it to ramp up work at its two dry docks on the south bank of the river.

The firm said the process of transporting the giant cranes, which weigh 230 tonnes each, was an engineering feat in itself.

After being taken from their established positions in Workington they were loaded onto the Terra Marique barge by self-propelled modular transporters and shipped 927 nautical miles before arriving on the Tees where they were offloaded and put into position.

The cranes, still emblazoned with the words ‘Port of Workington’, were fully refurbished in 2009 and represent a major investment in the yard, which had lain derelict for more than 30 years before UK Docks brought it back into operation in 2014.

It took two years for South Shields based UK Docks, which also operates a string of ship repair yards around England’s coast, to restore the Tees facility to working order.

The docks are now flourishing with ice patrol ship HMS Protector and the Svitzer-owned tug, the Svitzer Vidar, both currently making use of the firm’s services. HMS Echo, a Ministry of Defence multi-role hydrographic survey ship, is due to berth there soon.

UK Docks director Jonathan Wilson said: “It is very satisfying to have had the cranes successfully transported and re-assembled and we want to thank everyone involved for their expertise and professionalism.

“The move represents a seven-figure investment in our Teesside facility and one worth making as the docks continue to improve their working capacity.

“We have bought the two cranes outright and they will be invaluable in facilitating the work required on what is a full order book.

“New foundations and crane tracks have had to be installed to ensure their stability and with them being such sizeable constructions, a lot of care and engineering skill had to go into their deployment.

“But the effort is worth it because it will now give us two additional cranes with increased capacity operating alongside each other servicing both docks and that will make a major difference to our efficiency and speed in processing future contracts on the Tees.”

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