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Jersey key for Solent Stevedores expansion
SINCE its formation in 2000, Solent Stevedores has experienced rapid growth and its latest success signals the next stage in the development of the company.
The Southampton operator will be the sole provider of stevedoring services at both Elizabeth Harbour and New North Quay in Jersey.
Although no one from Solent Stevedores would give details, the expansion into Jersey is just the initial stage of a planned programme of expansion aimed at raising the company’s profile and widening its field of operations.
The Jersey licence was awarded after a fierce international tendering process, of which there were originally 14 interested parties from as far afield as Italy and Ireland, together with some locally based stevedoring businesses.
Representatives from Solent Stevedores are already in Jersey working alongside the 21 local employees taken on after the previous Channel Island company went into liquidation.
Ian Jacobs, general manager of Solent Stevedores, said the company was now in the process of implementing plans, which include investing in new equipment as well as staff training to upgrade the Jersey operation.
“The new stevedoring team will handle more than 90 per cent of the goods which either enter or leave the island of Jersey, and we believe there will be opportunities to develop our services with the other Channel Islands in due course,’’ said Ian, who oversees a workforce of 120 full-time employees.
“I believe this announcement is an excellent reflection on both the flexibility and commitment levels shown byall staff within the company, and demonstrates the excellent reputation the company is fast achieving.’’
The main impetus to Solent Stevedores’ accelerated growth has been the 20-year agreement with Associated British Ports (ABP), owners and operators of Southampton docks, to expand existing bulk facilities, comprising 107 to 109 berths, into the redundant King George V Dry Dock.
Not only did this deal produce more space for bulk and other cargo activity but it included multi-million pound capital investment to improve surfacing and also the purchase of two high capacity harbour mobile cranes and other specialist equipment.
Ian said: “Stevedoring is not a sexy business but we aim to modernise the processes involved by embracing new technology, together with constant training and investment.’’
Based in the city’s Western Docks, Solent Stevedores handle animal feed, recycled metal and glass, grain, fertiliser, gypsum, and wood pulp, while at Silvertown, on the River Thames, the company unloads in excess of 1.2m tonnes of raw cane sugar every year for Tate & Lyle.