Offshore engineer C-Wind to bring purpose-built operations centre to Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 22 Mar 2018

OFFSHORE engineering business C-Wind is bringing a purpose-built operations centre to Grimsby.

The company, which has worked out of the Humber’s first port of call for the past five years, has just signed the agreement for land on the North Wall.

The facility will include offices, warehousing and a pontoon for vessels, in what will be a significant, as yet undisclosed  investment for the 25-strong team already assembled on the port estate.

Sales director Lee Child made the announcement at a special offshore wind operations and maintenance event, which brought more than 150 delegates to the town.

It followed the industry's release of a 2030 vision as it works towards a sector deal with Government, unveiled this week.

Mr Child said: “We have been in Grimsby since 2013 and growing our operational on a fairly consistent basis.

“We are designing and constructing from scratch a base on the North Wall of the fish dock. It is going to have a pontoon, for our own crew transfer vessels, so we are an independent operation and not just reliant on client infrastructure.

“We have 25 people working from the Grimsby-area, onshore and offshore, and it is part of our long term strategy to have operational locations, and Grimsby being the largest hub, it is here. The future work of the area is huge and we want to be a strong part of it.”

It will be located at the far end of the strip, close to Port of Grimsby East’s modernised lock system.

Mr Child added: “We have won a lot of work out of Grimsby over the last year. That’s why we have these people working here, out of the port, and it makes sense with the growth we have seen from here.

“A big thing for us is being self-sufficient, with our own pontoon for our CTVs, so we’re not reliant on clients.”

C-Wind, based in Chelmsford, opened a base in Blyth, Northumberland last summer.

Initially offering crew transfer vessels, it has grown to add turnkey solutions for the industry, and having been taken over by Global Marine Group, expansion - alongside the burgeoning industry - has been rapid.

One key focus is an identified issue for the sector, internal corrosion of the tower at break-water point.

“After war and disease corrosion is the biggest cause of monetary wastage in human history,” Mr Child said, explaining how it had worked with AIS chemists to bring forward the C-Ling solution to a potential asset-lifetime threatening issue.

There are already more than 300 turbines operated from Grimsby, with hundreds more to come. 

Mr Child was speaking as an exemplar case study at the UK Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Renewable UK event at Grimsby Institute.

Delegates may have been anticipating another base announcement, for that, with partner University of Hull’s stating it could come in the next few months.

Understood to be a key plank in the Greater Grimsby Town Deal, it would build on the offshore wind cluster that will be furthered by C-Wind, and anchored by Orsted’s emerging £10 million East Coast Hub – also highlighted by the world-leading offshore wind developer’s UK managing director, Matthew Wright - in a keynote speech.

Of the UK Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence, Dr David Richards, pro vice chancellor at University of Hull, said: “It is a real nascent industry with enormous potential. No one organisation knows all the answers, so collaboration is absolutely key.

“We are delighted to be working with ORE Catapult and to commit to an operational centre of excellence because we see a lot of opportunity there. Why have we chosen to invest with Catapult? When you look at offshore wind you see this as the place, and place is incredibly important in the Industrial Strategy. That’s where funds will be channelled, and that’s why we think it will be a great opportunity.”

“We want to provide a place where industry comes together, where there is lots of innovation and we tackle the talent pool. There will be an announcement around an innovation centre, around business support, in the next few months, and we can start putting the steel in the ground.”

As reported, a Greater Grimsby Town Deal pilot was included in the Industrial Strategy, published by Government in November.

For C-Wind, Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises Ltd will be investing £165,000 in port infrastructure to enable the development.

Chief executive, Martyn Boyers, said C-Wind was a company with ambition to match its own.: "It is something we have been working at for a little while now," he said. "C-Wind is an existing customer and is expanding operations because it has contracts with projects. They were looking for bigger and better facilities and we have been pleased to be able to support their ambition and provide a facility on the North Wall. 

"We are improving that, spending money on infrastructure - an office, warehouse and pontoon - and it is great news for the port, for the town and for them." 

Humberbusiness.com – media partner of Offshore Wind Connections 2018

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