Global offshore subsea construction company Boskalis Subsea Services has opened a new regional project office at Port of Sunderland.
Boskalis, which specialises in offshore contracting, marine services and dredging, will use the base to expand the presence of its Boskalis Subsea Services business vessel operations in the UK, as it looks to cater for growing demand for its offshore, IRM, Construction and Decommissioning services.
The port has undertaken a £200,000 refurbishment of Cable House, a former store and workshop built in the early part of the 20th century, transforming it into a modern office space with open-plan office accommodation with meeting and conference facilities and a practical engineering workspace and welfare facilities.
The UK subsea specialist identified the port due to its ‘strategic location’ on the North Sea coast and the city’s ‘skilled workforce’ which it believes will be key to attracting talent and helping it continue growing its presence across the UK. Many Boskalis Subsea Services ships are now also regular visitors to the City’s port, including Boka Topaz, Boka Atlantis, Boka Polaris and Polar Onyx.
Founded in 1910, dredging has traditionally been Boskalis’ core activity, with its services now also including diving and inspection, construction and maintenance of ports and waterways, land reclamation, coastal defence and riverbank protection as well as marine construction.
The company employs over 10,000 people across six continents and as well as providing its services to 90 ports in 36 countries, also operates a fleet of over 700 vessels operating at any one time across the globe.
Richard Cawthorne – Senior Project Manager at Boskalis Subsea Services said “We have significant programmes of work to execute in the Southern North Sea for major Operators, this work covers IRM, Decommissioning and Construction, whilst our Company is headquartered in Aberdeen we saw that setting up a local project office in Sunderland, mobilising and demobilising our ships from here also and accessing the local supply chain was a clear benefit to our customers. We are delighted to be working with the local authorities to make all this happen”.
Port of Sunderland, which is owned and operated by Sunderland City Council, has benefited from significant investment over recent years, including £8.2million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to ensure the hub is shovel-ready for investment and Boskalis is the latest company to benefit from its continued expansion.
This has included significant improvements to the port’s road networks, the reintroduction of commercial cargo trains to the port for the first time in decades and clearing and preparing swathes of land for companies to provide the space required to attract further inward investment into the site.
This has led to leading fertiliser manufacturer Brineflow opening a custom-built storage and distribution hub at the port; Norwegian Government-backed energy start-up Wastefront AS unveiling plans to construct a first-of-its-kind tyre recycling facility and energy giant Quantafuel submitting plans to construct a plastic recycling plant at the hub.
Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council and chair of Port of Sunderland, said: “Boskalis is the latest in a string of companies to relocate to the port and we’re delighted to have worked closely with the team to locate the perfect site for their new regional office.
“As a city which was once home to the world’s largest shipbuilding community, the people of Sunderland are incredibly proud of their maritime heritage, which once employed tens of thousands of people along the banks of the River Wear, and we’re absolutely delighted to see that the continued investment into the port is helping provide opportunities for the next generation of youngsters looking to explore a career in the sector.”