Last week, P&O’s ‘Azura’, became the largest cruise vessel to have entered Harland and Wolff’s (H&W) Belfast shipyard thus far.
She arrived following an idle period alongside at North Shields on the River Tyne.
In addition, at the quayside alongside the repair dock, the H&W’s team completed its first major in-service support contract for Virgin Voyage’s ’Scarlet Lady’ cruise ship.
The team provided the necessary support efficiently and without the need to take ‘Scarlet Lady’ out of service, the company claimed.
This is a significant step towards providing high value add services to clients whilst ensuring vessels remain in operation – saving money by avoiding drydockings and the need to take vessels out of service, H&W said.
Belfast is also awaiting the arrival of a Suezmax crude oil tanker, which will be the first time a vessel of this size will have been drydocked since H&W’s takeover by InfraStrata in 2019.
At its Appledore yard, H&W is awaiting the arrival of an offshore support vessel for an upgrade project, marking the re-entry of the facility, as a repair and shipbuilding complex.
The group is also working on other projects with the UK Ministry of Defence and the new UK National Shipbuilding Office.
John Wood, Group CEO, commented: “It is fantastic to see multiple contracts being awarded to Harland & Wolff across Belfast and Appledore.
“These range from minor ‘bread & butter’ type of works to major contracts that have the capacity to grow even more in value over time.
“We are now being recognised as a shipyard business that is professional, cost effective and customer attentive. This recognition is clearly demonstrated by a series of new client wins and repeat business from our existing clients.
“Looking ahead, I believe that we have laid the firm foundations for rapid growth and the build-up of a contractual pipeline for 2022 and beyond,” he said.
H&W has also announced that parent InfraStrata has applied to the UK’s Companies House to trade under the name Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc.
Over the past 18 months, the company has gone through various phases, including the acquisition of assets, significant upgrades to all its facilities, the introduction of modern technology and has simultaneously established a substantial sales pipeline, which now stands at £7.8 bill (on an unweighted basis) and £1.8 bill (on a weighted basis).
H&W is now at the final stages of the full reactivation of all its yards, which involves building a multi-year backlog for its facilities across its five key markets: defence, cruise and ferry, commercial, renewables and energy.
Trading in the company’s shares on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market, under the new name of Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc is expected to take effect as soon as a new stock ticker name has been issued by the AIM team.
Wood explained: “We are delighted to make this announcement, signalling the end of upgrade and reactivation phases. With the new national shipbuilding strategy due to be released in the autumn and the government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, we have confidence that the shipbuilding and fabrication business will deliver substantial value to all our stakeholders as we enter this exciting new stage of building our multi-year backlog of projects.
“Since acquiring Harland & Wolff in December, 2019, we have seen the organisation grow significantly; in August 2020 we reopened what is now known as Harland & Wolff (Appledore) and in February 2021, we acquired two ex-BiFab sites based in Scotland – now renamed Harland & Wolff (Arnish) and Harland & Wolff (Methil), respectively giving us one of the largest fabrication footprints dedicated to our core markets, in addition to two of the largest drydocks in Europe which at 80% capacity could give sales of in excess of £500 mill per annum when operational efficiencies have been achieved.
“This is a natural progression in building and further developing the Harland & Wolff brand, our commitments to high-quality jobs across our five markets including the 34 apprenticeships recently announced as well as providing socio-economic investment into local, regional, and national communities,” he concluded.