HARLAND AND WOLFF SHIPYARD CRISIS ‘IS A COMMERCIAL ISSUE’

HARLAND AND WOLFF SHIPYARD CRISIS ‘IS A COMMERCIAL ISSUE’

So says BBChere

Shipyard workers, well actually ex-shipyard workers would be a more accurate description for about 95% of them, all round the UK have been here many times before, albeit mainly 3 or 4 decades ago.

hipbuilding was an industry which, at its peak, built great ships such as the Queen Mary and HMS Dreadnought, constructed in Glasgow and Portsmouth respectively in the early 20th century.

The boom lasted well beyond the second world war. According to consultancy IHS, 134 vessels – 1.47m gross tonnes of shipping – were produced in the UK in 1976. But competition from Japan, South Korea and now China has taken its toll, with the industry producing just four ships in 2011. Even Royal Navy tankers were built in the vast shipyards of South Korea.

However, UK yards that have survived, recently cooperated together to produce two magnificent aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince of Wales.  We still have the design, development and manufacturing skills and knowledge, which is in big demand all over the world.  It would be wonderful if the people with those special skills and talents could all return home to work in UK-based shipbuilding yards.

the shipyard is ailing and either no-one wants H&W ships or there is a demand for their vessels but not at the high prices they have to be sold at to make a profit. 

It’s a fact of life that for private investors, the only way they will lend their money is if they are rewarded with a fair and acceptable return on their investment.  We should also remember that not many of the investors are super-rich individuals.  Some are individuals of average means who are trying to create a pension pot that has or will become depleted faster than originally expected because of all sorts of cutbacks.  Other investors are super-rich, but pension funds, not super rich individuals gambling with their own money.  They could well be investing some of your pension fund or mine.  In which case the rules about ‘return on investment’ are the prime mover, the decision-making factor and nothing else matters.

JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman