Since Harland & Wolff (Belfast) was reopened for business in December, 17 vessels have visited us for a broad and ever-increasing range of shipyard docking services.
During this same period, the Harland & Wolff team removed the large dock gate from the entrance to the Belfast Dock, “shifted” it into our 335m-long Building Dock for a top-to-toe in-house refurbishment programme. As soon as the Harland & Wolff team reinstalled the gate, Stena’s Superfast VIII was docked. It sailed out on Sunday and Superfast VII sailed in the dock on Monday. We have a further six vessels already secured for the coming four months and our bidding teams are working hard to secure even more business.
Our 85-acre shipyard continues to grow in capability and capacity with plant and machinery refurbishment, as well as ongoing equipment upgrades and additions. The most impressive of which, (so far) is our new state-of-the-art micro panel welding robot from Inrotech for which we anticipate installation to begin before Christmas. This has been specifically developed for the automated welding of micro/mini panels, sub-assemblies, T-beams and small-parts. What’s more, with twin robotic welding arms, is able to conduct simultaneous welding when welding multiple profile stiffeners in X or Y direction.
We are proud to have played host recently to a varied number of guests.
On 29 September, we welcomed Captain Chris Smith ADC MA FCIPD Royal Navy and Commander John Patterson Royal Navy. We shared our vision and strategy with them both and took them on a tour of our facilities.
Then, on the afternoon of 30 September, we had the privilege of welcoming the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis.
Speaking to management at Harland & Wolff, Secretary of State @brandonlewis discussed the recovery of the Northern Ireland economy and how businesses such as H&W can further build a skilled workforce to promote future exports and attract local investment📸👇 pic.twitter.com/RKmjUb5sPk
— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) September 30, 2020
The Secretary spent time understanding our vision and strategy for the yard, how we are growing in spite of COVID-19, the workflow expected in the yard and how NI and UK government can support UK shipbuilding. We then took him to the top of Samson, to see “arguably one of the best views in Belfast” (his words!).
This followed a visit from The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of Ireland; in relation to an upcoming event, when many of Belfast’s larger companies (Harland & Wolff included) will be looking to engage with the local supply chain.
Last but not least, earlier in the month, TV presenter Dom Littlewood was welcomed onto site to film an episode of his upcoming series ‘Dom Dig’s In’.
“We’ve transitioned from a struggling shipyard at the end of last year where the plight of the last remaining 69 workers was in the balance, to a vibrant, active and much needed addition to our countries’ shipbuilding and fabrication industry. With 200 dedicated people working the yard today we will continue to service our customers’ needs and enhance the facility. However, our next challenge is to ensure we have an ample supply of local skills available to keep feeding our production needs. We’re now looking to launch the Harland & Wolff Apprenticeship scheme in the near future.”
Perry Kennedy, Interim Managing Director.