De­com boost for Dundee as Chi­nese mar­itime gi­ant due to open of­fice in city.

Chi­nese firm in­vests around £500,000 set­ting up base in Dundee’s River Court

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - GRA­HAM HUBAND BUSI­NESS EDI­TOR

A Chi­nese state-owned mar­itime gi­ant which com­pleted the largest sin­gle-lift sea sal­vage op­er­a­tion in his­tory will to­day open the doors to its first UK of­fice in Dundee.

China Ocean En­gi­neer­ing Shang­hai Co (COES) has in­vested around half a mil­lion pounds in es­tab­lish­ing its new re­new­ables and de­com­mis­sion­ing fo­cused off­shoot, COES Cale­do­nia (UK) Ltd, in the city.

It is a fur­ther boost to Dundee’s off­shore as­pi­ra­tions, which are be­ing built out through the Dun­deecom ban­ner in part­ner­ship with docks owner Forth Ports, the city coun­cil and the pri­vate sec­tor.

Last month, Off­shore De­com­mis­sion­ing Ser­vices re­vealed plans to base its op­er­a­tions, en­gi­neer­ing and lo­gis­tics base in the city in sup­port of Moon­raker, the off­shore heavy lift ves­sel it plans to build.

COES is sig­nif­i­cantly fur­ther down that road with its lat­est £400 mil­lion heavy lift flag­ship – the Chuang Li – in fi­nal com­mis­sion­ing ahead of it en­ter­ing com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions early next year.

The new COES Cale­do­nia of­fice is plan­ning to of­fer the 4,500MT Chuang Li for heavy lift op­er­a­tions in the North Sea.

The plan – and the build-out of the firm’s lo­cal op­er­a­tions from an ini­tial staffing base of up to 15 – is de­pen­dent on con­tract wins but COES Cale­do­nia di­rec­tor gen­eral, Pro­fes­sor Nor­man McLennan, said he was con­fi­dent there was a bright fu­ture ahead.

The in­ten­tion to build a ma­jor busi­ness in the city is un­der­scored by the fact COES In­ter­na­tional’s pres­i­dent, Mr Hong Chong, has trav­elled from China to Dundee to at­tend the of­fi­cial open­ing

We have am­bi­tions ... that will cre­ate both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional job op­por­tu­nites. NOR­MAN MCLENNAN

of the lo­cal of­fice, which will be based at River Court, Dundee One at the city’s water­front.

“COES is part of the Min­istry of Trans­port in China. It is a state-owned and be­cause of that is fi­nan­cially sta­ble,” said Prof McLennan, an oil and gas in­dus­try vet­eran who was raised in Dundee and ed­u­cated at Har­ris Academy.

The in­vest­ment in Dundee fol­lows a meet­ing be­tween Mr Hong and Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon dur­ing a trade mis­sion she em­barked on to China last year.

Min­is­ter for busi­ness, fair work and skills, Jamie Hep­burn, will at­tend the of­fi­cial of­fice open­ing in Dundee to­day along with lo­cal dig­ni­taries and mem­bers of the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

Prof McLennan said the ca­pa­bil­ity of the Chuang Li – which lit­er­ally trans­lates as in­no­va­tive ves­sel – was a po­ten­tial game-changer for the North Sea de­com sec­tor and the emerg­ing off­shore re­new­ables in­dus­try.

He said it had the ca­pa­bil­ity of re­mov­ing en­tire plat­forms top­sides and sub­sea jacket in­fra­struc­ture in sin­gle lift op­er­a­tions and could also han­dle the re­moval of aban­doned seafloor pipework.

The Chuang Li will also be able to as­sist in re­new­ables op­er­a­tions – a ca­pa­bil­ity that will be re­quired as three multi-bil­lion pound off­shore wind farms planned for the Outer Firths of Tay and Forth – NNG, Inch Cape and Sea­green - are built out in the years ahead.

“The of­fice ini­tially will be a small pres­ence with up to 15 peo­ple,” Prof McLennan said.

“It is sub­ject to con­tract suc­cess – to win­ning ma­jor con­tracts – but we have am­bi­tions to get that done and over the years ahead that will cre­ate both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional job op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Pro­fes­sor Nor­man McLennan with First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon.

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