Shipbuilding to return to Cammell Laird for first time in 20 years in multi-million pound Western Ferries deal
is set to build its first complete ships in almost 20 years.
The Birkenhead shipyard and engineering firm has beaten off international competition to be named as the preferred bidder to build two new vessels for Western Ferries in what would be a multi-million pound deal.
Both ferries would be used on Western’s Gourock to Dunoon route, in Scotland.
is already building the flight decks and other sections of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in a deal worth £44m.
But the two ferries would be the first complete vessels the yard has built since the completion of the nuclear submarine, HMS Unicorn, in 1993.
chief executive John Syvret said: “This project is a welcome addition to the already diverse range of offshore, commercial and military projects under way within the yard, and will complement the successful module construction work we have been undertaking in support of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
“The awarding of this project demonstrates Cammell Laird
’s commitment to the continued growth of the business in all markets.”
The Gourock to Dunoon route has been in operation for 39 years and in 2011 carried more than 1.3m passengers and over 600,000 cars.
Gordon Ross, managing director of Western Ferries, said: “Not only was Cammell Laird
’s bid the most commercially competitive, it also provided for the earliest delivery of the vessels, which was a crucial factor for the company and the local community.
“Despite strong international interest, Western Ferries is also very pleased that these new vessels, along with the new vessels introduced in 2001 and 2003, will be fully built in the UK.”
Mr Ross added it is hoped that construction will begin in June this year, with both vessels due to be delivered during the summer of 2013.
enjoys iconic status thanks to its History
of building some of the world’s biggest ship including Cunard’s second Mauretania and the Royal Navy’s HMS Ark Royal.
The Company was founded by William Laird
, who had established the Birkenhead Iron Works in 1824, when he was joined by his son, John Laird
, in 1828.
The company now operates across a diverse range of engineering sectors, including ship repair and heavy fabrication.
One area the company has identified as having huge potential for growth is the offshore wind sector.
has the facilities to become a major hub for the assembly and maintenance of giant wind turbines in the Irish Sea.
Spread across 130 acres on the banks of the River Mersey, the firm directly employs 750 people with a similar number working in the local supply chain.
It also employs 80 apprentices.