Harland & Wolff Restoration Continues with First Construction Contract

Harland & Wolff first construction contract
Harland & Wolff reported its first new construction contract as the yard works to rebuild business (fiile photo)

Published Jun 1, 2022 1:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

The restoration of Northern Ireland’s legendary Harland & Wolff shipyard continues with the yard reporting its first new ship construction contract. Two years ago, the shipyard was acquired out of a financial administration by the former InfraStrata group, which recently changed its name to Harland & Wolff Group Holdings to reflect its transition from the gas storage and infrastructure sector to the emphasis on the shipyard group.

The strategy for the shipyard group included a series of acquisitions starting with the yard in Belfast, which has two of the largest drydocks in the UK and the second largest in Europe. They also acquired the Appledore yard in 2020 as well as fabrication facilities now renamed Harland & Wolff (Arnish) and Harland & Wolff (Methil). The strategy defined for the new group focuses on five key markets, including defense, cruise and ferry, commercial, renewables and energy.

According to today’s announcement, Harland & Wolff has been awarded an initial contract worth approximately $10.6 million to build 11 barges. The barges will be used by Cory to transport London’s recyclable and non-recyclable waste on the River Thames.

“With this contract, we shall be opening up our vast undercover fabrication halls in Belfast and making optimal use of our new robotic welding panel line,” said John Wood, CEO of the Harland & Wolff Group. “This contract gives us the opportunity to optimize our production flows in readiness for other fabrication programs in our pipeline and it demonstrates the variety of fabrication work that our facilities are ideally placed to execute upon.”

Fabrication of the barges will take place at the Belfast yard, where once famous ocean liners including the Titanic and other large ships were built. The first steel for the barge project will be cut within approximately eight weeks. The program schedule allows for four barges to be built in tandem, with the entire build project ending around mid-2023. Fully fabricated barges will be sequentially delivered to Cory on the River Thames.

Before this contract, Harland & Wolff has begun its reconditioning and overhaul business at both shipyards. Last fall, the Belfast yard dry-docked P&O Cruises’ Azura and recently Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria. They also carried out in-service for Virgin Voyages on the Scarlet Lady and upcoming P&O Cruises’ Aurora will dry dock in Belfast. Last fall, the yard in Belfast also dry-docked a crude oil tanker, Dorset Spirit, marking the largest vessel at the yard since the acquisition in December 2019. Similarly, the Appledore yard which had been idle also last fall undertook its first large reconditioning job for an offshore supply ship, while the fabrication facilities were reported winning contracts to support Scotland’s growing offshore wind energy sector.

Harland & Wolff also announced today that it has acquired a former Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Atherstone, from the Ministry of Defence. They report it is a speculative project to refurbish the vessel for non-military uses and that discussions have already commenced with interested parties. The yard is also currently bidding on a project to recondition a similar vessel for the Ministry of Defence and should it win that project spare parts from the acquired vessel could be employed in the project.

The relaunched shipyard group continues to work on building its orderbook. Part of the early focus has been on the offshore energy sector based on the need to support Scotland’s wind farms.