IN BUSINESS ‘Deal is tribute to skill and ambition of firm’
THE Metro Mayor has hailed a Widnes firm’s multi-million pound export contract as a powerful message about the Liverpool City Region’s future economic potential.
Hutchinson Engineering, on Everite Road, has signed a deal with technology supplier, MHI Vestas.
It will involve the Widnes-based operation providing essential technical components for Danish renewables company DONG Energy’s wind farms across Europe.
On a visit to Hutchinson’s new quayside operation at Garston docks to see the despatch of their latest export order, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram paid tribute to the firm’s pioneering approach in securing the contract from an international industry-leader.
He said: “This is the renewable energy equivalent of sending coals to Newcastle. It’s an incredible testimony to the skill and ambition of Hutchinson’s that they are exporting their technology to the country that practically invented wind energy.
“But it’s also a very eloquent case study about the kind of new economy that we can build in this city region.
“We’re utilising our geography to generate renewable energy at Burbo Bank, and now we’re developing the skills and harnessing the manufacturing expertise to export advanced engineering products to the world.”
The Metro Mayor views the contract as evidence of what he calls a virtuous economic circle that also involves major investment by DONG Energy in off-shore wind infrastructure as well as supply chain and skills development at their new operations centre in Wirral.
Mr Rotheram said: “We need to be ambitious and smart in the way we plan infrastructure and investment to facilitate these economic opportunities.
“That’s why we want to harness the power of the Mersey for renewable energy, and make this the most digitally connected city region in the UK.
“Trains and canals were the infrastructure that powered the first Industrial Revolution and it is digital capacity and renewable energy that will be the platform for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” ●
Hutchinson’s managing director, Dean Drinkwater said the project is the ‘first of many larger fabrications’ for their client, is the fourth order from MHI Vestas for DONG Energy, and is also the largest to date.
He said: “Through our continued collaboration with ABP and Armitt at Garston Docks, we can streamline our export capacity and further boost employment and growth in the city region.”
Hutchinson’s successful move into the off-shore wind supply chain has been assisted by the Liverpool City Region LEP which has helped the company with market analysis, product development and key introductions to MHI Vestas and DONG Energy, as well as providing support for a funding bid for the Garston facility.
Liverpool City Region LEP managing director, Mark Basnett, said: “This is a great story and an example of how we can match our skills with natural assets to forge new economic opportunities.
“Our coastal location attracted investment in infrastructure and now that infrastructure is facilitating business growth and new high skilled employment.
“The economic activity arising from this collaboration now extends across Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool and Halton.
“It’s a city region working together to renew and re-invent its economic future.”
Allan Seedhouse is managing direc- tor of Armitt Group, which has been instrumental in supporting Hutchinson’s operation at Garston.
He said: “Our commercial team has worked with Hutchinson’s to facilitate the lease of our Quayside Steel store which makes the prefect starting point for Hutchinson’s entry into the offshore fabrication market.
“By offering a waterside building combined with stevedoring, vessel agency and chartering support Armitt enabled Hutchinson to offer a fully serviced package to their customers and win these crucial contracts.
“We are delighted to have been an integral part of that process and will do our upmost to ensure the venture succeeds.”
Allan Seedhouse, managing director Armitt Group; Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor Liverpool City Region; Dean Drinkwater, managing director Hutchinson’s Engineering; and Steve Adams, Hutchinson’s Engineering at the Widnes firm’s new quayside operation at Garston docks