Two North East firms win multi-million pound contract to convert Port of Felixstowe cranes

Gateshead's Techservices and Blaydon's Stella Maintenance Technologies have been chosen by Hutchinson Ports UK to carry out a three-year contract.

Some of the gantry cranes which Techservices and Stella Maintenance Technologies will help to convert
Some of the gantry cranes which Techservices and Stella Maintenance Technologies will help to convert

A pair of North East firms have secured a multi-million pound contract which is believed to be the largest of its kind in Western Europe.

Gateshead-based Techservices (North East) Limited and partners Stella Maintenance Technologies have been chosen to convert 54 rubber-tyred gantry cranes at the Port of Felixstowe, from diesel power to full electrification.

The contract with global port operators Hutchinson Ports UK will see both North East firms work on the cranes, which are used to move containers around the port.

Techservices, which leads the contract, is already established as a contractor at the Port of Felixstowe, but had to fight off fierce competition from global competitors across a year-long tendering process.

As strategic partners, Blaydon-based Stella Maintenance Technologies will help Techservices to make sure they meet the technical requirements of Hutchinson Ports’ tender package.

A team of six will provide the electrical engineering expertise necessary for the work, which will begin in June, and another six jobs are expected to be created on the back of the contract.

The deal is part of a strategy by Hutchinson Ports UK to significantly reduce fuel costs and lower the carbon emissions of the entire Port of Felixstowe crane fleet.

Barry Renwick, commercial director at Techservices, said: “This project is the largest Techservices has undertaken in its 36-year history and we are delighted that a project of such magnitude will both protect and create many new jobs in the region. It will also benefit other local companies in our supply chain.”

John Oxley, technical director at Techservices, said: “We are delighted Techservices have been successful in securing this prestigious contract, and that we complied with all the requirements in Hutchinson Ports UK’s competitive tendering process.

“We’re well aware of the significance of this project within the port industry and the benefits it gives to the Port itself. Techservices have all the experience to manage this conversion of the rubber-tyred gantry fleet, and we’re excited about the potential further growth in this area.”

In addition to the crane conversions, Techservices will also install more than 13 kilometres of steelwork and conductor rails during the three-year project.

Electrical infrastructure will also be developed to connect the cranes to the main 11,000 volt power supply at the port through transformers and sub-stations.

Malcolm Bell, managing director and principal consultant electrical engineer at Stella Maintenance Technologies Limited, said: “During the last five years we have worked very closely with Techservices on a number of technically demanding projects, both for other ports and in general manufacturing facilities.

“This exciting new project will require the combined expertise and skills of both companies in all aspects of project management, electrical and mechanical engineering, logistics and supply, health and safety, regulatory compliance, workforce supervision and leadership.

“New jobs will be created and we will continue our commitment to support existing long-term clients across the North East.”

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