Investment Flow Starts At Belfast Yard
Work to upgrade Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard was implemented last month, readying the company for a return to full-scale shipbuilding. The project to improve and enlarge the existing fabrication halls signifies the roll-out of £77m ($93m) investment in infrastructure at the group’s Belfast and Appledore yards, unlocked by the contract to construct three 40,000t naval replenishment vessels.
As well as advanced automation and robotic machinery, encompassing material movement, marking, plate cutting, panel lines, and welding, the enhancements to the Belfast complex will include a 5,000m2 extension to the fabrication halls. The programme will facilitate the automated output of panels of up to 16m2, and imbue the capability for the production of ‘mega’ blocks.
While the immediate objective of the infrastructural upgrade is the fulfilment of the order for the series of three 216-metre, 19-knot Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships that will be deployed by the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), the expenditure will position H&W to capitalise on further newbuild, fabrication and heavy engineering opportunities.