Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside

By Mersey Maritime

Beech Group opens doors on its new training facility

Beech Group has opened the doors of its new training facility for the first time.

The demolition specialist is now offering a range of training within the construction sector, drawing on its experience and expertise gained in 55 years of trading. Beech has now gained accreditations to back up the quality of its courses – both IPAF and PASMA training are recognised well in the industry.

Its first booked customer was hugely impressed with the Novice Counterbalance Lift (Forklift) Truck course, and they have classes available for a variety of other trucks.

And the training doesn’t just cover machinery but also comprehensive and basic first aid, manual handling and Driver CPC courses.

Beech’s aim is to expand and increase the variety of training on offer, with more than 15 courses already available and more to come soon.

By Mersey Maritime

Wirral Chamber urges firms not to let Apprenticeship Levy funds go to waste 

Wirral Chamber is looking to encourage businesses in the borough to make full use of the Apprenticeship Levy which is currently seeing an underspend.

It has joined forces with national training provider, Progress to Excellence, to raise awareness among levy-paying firms of the alternative ways that they can choose to spend their available funds.

Businesses can ‘gift’ up to 10% of their total levy value to support other Wirral organisations in training their teams via apprenticeships. For example, they may choose to work with a charity of their choice, a smaller business in their supply chain or any other Wirral employer that could benefit from a re-investment in training and development via apprenticeships.

A report published in April 2018 by the Open University, revealed there was £1.28bn in apprenticeship funds sitting unused. The same report went on to warn that if employers didn’t start to use these funds, they risked losing as much as £139m a month from April 2019.

In leading the way, Wirral will be the first borough nationally to highlight how larger companies can support the growth of smaller companies in the local area.

Charities for example, as non-levy payers, could benefit by receiving some funding from a larger Wirral based business to help fund a wide range of apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors such as leadership and management, business administration and ICT.

Levy payers will be able to decide who to ‘gift’ their under spent levy funds to. However, Wirral Chamber has undertaken a survey to gauge the requirements of non-levy payers in a bid to understand from local businesses and charities how and where this potential funding boost would make the biggest difference.

Patsy Crocker, executive director at Wirral Chamber, said: “Together with Progress to Excellence we are committed to ensuring that our business community can take advantage of this initiative and, as always, we will look to support their aspirations for growth through creating opportunities which will accelerate leadership and management skills to generate expansion.

To find out more about the initiative contact Patsy Crocker by emailing

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime takes leading role in major Government strategy

Pictured: Sarah Kenny, Vice Chair of Maritime UK addressing audience at Maritime 2050.

Mersey Maritime is to play a leading role in the Government’s newly published long-term strategy for the UK maritime sector.

Maritime 2050 aims to set a “roadmap’ for the growth of the maritime industries over the coming decades, with its importance thrown into sharp focus due to Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union.

Described as both “visionary and aspirational”, the strategy highlights the government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector – worth more to the economy than aerospace or car manufacturing.

Diverse industry

The Maritime 2050 document references Mersey Maritime, which represents Liverpool city region’s diverse and growing maritime industry, which is estimated to be worth around £4bn and includes more than 30 sub-sectors.

With companies such as Peel Ports, ACL and Royal HaskoningDHV, as well as a plethora of innovative SMEs, Mersey Maritime is now recognised as the most successful maritime cluster organisation in Europe.

Maritime 2050 is based around seven themes: technology, trade, environment, people, infrastructure, security/resilience and the UK’s competitive advantage. It recognises significant opportunities, which include:

  • Fostering innovation in new technologies like autonomy and clean growth.
  • Attracting more maritime business to the UK.
  • Driving coastal economic development to create a coastal powerhouse.
  • Grow a skilled and diverse workforce.
  • Maritime innovation

The strategy will look to strengthen the UK’s reputation for maritime innovation with an initial focus on autonomy and low-carbon technologies. For many of these technologies there is a time-limited golden opportunity to be an early adopter, particularly on low-carbon.

Mersey Maritime chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, said: “Given the strain the Department for Transport is currently under with Brexit, we’re delighted with this vision for the future of the UK’s most important industry.

“The nod to the importance of coastal powerhouses such as Liverpool, Hull and Southampton demonstrates the growing acknowledgement of the impact regional cluster organisations have on UK plc.

“We welcome the drive to create a port-based maritime Centre of Excellence by 2030, although I’m confident we can have a world-leading facility within five years given the work already underway by Mersey Maritime and our commitment to create an additional 4,000 jobs over that period.

“Mersey Maritime looks forward to supporting all of the existing and newly established cluster organisations with the UK in the future.”

Global context

Maritime UK chair, Harry Theochari, added: “For the first time the maritime sector has a real long-term strategy – setting out what Government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.

“The global ocean economy will double in value to $(US)3trn by 2030. Competitor maritime nations are hungry for the prize, and Maritime 2050 will ensure that the UK is best-placed to capitalise.”

By Mersey Maritime

Port of Liverpool secures import deal with retailer B&M

Multi-billion pound value retailer B&M is to increase its imports in to the Port of Liverpool by 30% after growing increasingly frustrated with delays at Southern Ports.

Its means Liverpool-based B&M, which operates more than 600 UK stores and enjoys annual sales of more than £3bn, will now ship 80% of its stock from its global suppliers via the River Mersey.

It is the second major coup for port owner Peel Ports this month after Maersk Line and MSC decided to permanently switch its Transatlantic TA4 route linking the UK with several US ports from Felixstowe to Liverpool.

Over the coming months, B&M, which operates from its headquarters in Speke, expects to shift all cargo to Liverpool in a permanent move, citing quicker lead-times and a reduction in road miles afforded by the port’s central location as among the key reasons why.

Jerome Wildsmith, B&M’s head of supply chain said: “Over the past few years, we have strengthened our relationship with the Port of Liverpool, importing increasingly larger volumes of cargo and taking advantage of strong partnerships with our shipping operator Maersk and our inland logistics supplier, JWT Commercial.

“We recently increased our imports into Liverpool from 50% to 80% of our total cargo, with a view to converting this into a permanent move. As we continue to grow the business, we’ll be able to offer our customers a more efficient service as well as reduce our carbon footprint thanks to the fantastic connectivity provided by Peel Port’s multimodal services.”

Roger Megann, head of commercial (containers) from Peel Ports, added: “We’re proud to strengthen our partnership with B&M, testament to the best in class expertise, prime location and facilities available at the Port of Liverpool.

“It also marks a further shift away from southern ports, with problems only expected to worsen as Brexit moves closer, congestion shows no sign of easing and delays get longer.”

By Mersey Maritime

Goodwin Electronics secures tie-up with Control Techniques

Wirral-based Goodwin Electronics has secured approval as a technical distributor partner for mid-Wales based Control Techniques.

Based at the Croft Business Park, Goodwin has been established for more than 35 years specialising in machine control and positioning as well as distribution of industrial variable and servo drives.

The partnership with Control Techniques sees two companies with long histories in automation systems working together.

Gareth Jones, general manager UK and Ireland for Control Techniques, said: “The combination of Goodwin Electronics and Control Techniques is a perfect fit, with Goodwin’s capability and expertise in distribution, and Control Techniques over 40 years history in drives design, the outlook for both companies is very favourable.”

Both companies have substantial stock of variable speed drives and servo drives, and Control Techniques’ manufacturing centre in Newtown, mid-Wales, is expanding to ensure continuity of supply during any Brexit import issues that non-UK manufacturers are fearing.

Goodwin Electronics is active in the renewable energy and marine industries with wave and tidal energy projects, as well as providing energy saving drive solutions for pumps and fan applications.

By Mersey Maritime

190 Club relaunches for 2019 to raise more money for the homeless

Pictured:  Kay Penkethman, Kate Eugeni, Frank Fields MP, Chris Wainwright and Chris Shirling-Rooke

The 190 Club has now been launched for its second year. In 2018 it raise more than £18,000 for homeless people and organiser Chris Wainwright of Beech Group is intent on beating last year and reaching the target of 190 members.

It costs £190 to join per year and you have a chance of winning either £500, £300 or £200 every month at Mersey Maritime’s Face 2 Face  breakfast event when the draws are carried out.

Chris Wainwright said, ‘People are still sitting on the streets and facing hunger and cold. We are not in that situation so we should do something about it. We don’t know the individual reasons behind each case and we don’t know as individuals how to solve it but what we can do is raise money for Feeding Britain.’

If you would like to discuss joining the 190 club please Contact Chris.

By Mersey Maritime

Essar confirms first opening of a Morrisons Daily at petrol outlet

Essar Oil UK has confirmed the the first opening of a Morrisons Daily at one of its branded retail outlets at Moulsford in Oxfordshire, with several more planned to follow suit in 2019.

Based at Stanlow on the banks of the Mersey, Essar supplies more than 16% of the UK’s road fuel and employs almost 1,000 people. In 2015 it entered the petrol retail market and now operates from 67 sites across the country.

The station is one of 12 MPK sites recently unveiled under the Essar marque, following an agreement reached in November with the top independent garage group.

Ramsay Macdonald, head of retail at Essar, said: “This is another milestone in the development of Essar’s UK retail network. With a vibrant modern and fresh brand, we believe we are ideally placed to showcase best in class ‘Roadside Retail’ and Morrisons Daily is certainly in that category.

“MPK is transforming its business and this is a huge vote of confidence that Essar can assist their development as a major convenience led business. The fantastic range of fresh and chilled foods to go means our customers can do a daily shop, or pick something up on their journey, while filling up at a competitive price.”

By Mersey Maritime

Sensor City launches £100,000 support programme for SMEs

Liverpool’s £15m technical innovation centre, Sensor City, is offering £100,000 to support 10 innovative SMEs in a new competition.

Based in the city centre, Sensor City is joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University and offers world-class research and development into the use of sensors.

A number of start-up and early stage businesses have already taken up space at the facility and now a further 10 SMEs are to be offered fast-track growth packages worth up to £10,000 each.

The packages include free hot desk and co-working space within Sensor City for six months, official membership status, credits for use of event space and access to specialist laboratories.

Successful businesses will also get access to Amazon Web Services’ Activate programme, which provides them with access to the technology infrastructure they need to scale and grow including credits, technical training, and wider business support.

Dr Joanne Phoenix, interim executive director at Sensor City, said: “The growth package is a fantastic opportunity for start-ups and small businesses to leverage the specialist equipment and technological expertise we have in-house at Sensor City, which will help them to rapidly prototype their ideas and innovations.

“Using AWS will also provide the services these businesses need to scale-up, while increasing flexibility and reliability, so I’d encourage SMEs across all sectors to consider applying.”

To join the growth programme companies must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be a registered company of SME status.
  • Work within the sensor or IoT sectors.
  • Have an existing product or be looking to develop new ideas.
  • Submissions are welcomed locally, nationally and internationally and should be completed by 5pm on Friday, February 22. The judging panel, including experts from Sensor City, AWS, KTN, Pycom, University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, will then review all submissions and determine which 10 SMEs will win the growth packages.

Click here to apply for the programme 

By Mersey Maritime

Three senior appointments for law firm Brabners

Pictured: Nik White, Eleanor Stirrett, Elspeth Christie, Robert White

Law firm Brabners has announced three senior appointments in its construction practice as it looks to capitalise on the growth of the North West property and construction market.

Elspeth Christie and Sarah Nunnery-Jones join the firm as partner and senior associate respectively, while Eleanor Stirrett has been promoted to the role of partner.

They follow a series of senior hires announced in the last 12 months, including the appointment of head of real estate Paul Firth. Brabners’ real estate team has grown to more than 100 people across its three offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston.

Elspeth Christie has more than 15 years’ experience, and previously led the non-contentious construction team at DLA Piper in Liverpool, where she was recognised by the firm as one of 2018’s ‘Inspirational Women in Real Estate’.

She will be joined at Brabners next month by Sarah Nunnery-Jones, having spent four years working together at DLA Piper.

Eleanor Stirrett has been promoted to partner after three years at Brabners. She advises a variety of clients including developers, funders, housing associations, educational institutions, local authorities and contractors.

Paul Firth said: “The property and construction market continues to thrive. Helped in the North West, in particular, by a real focus on strengthening the region’s infrastructure and economy.

“Bolstering our real estate practice with the specialist knowledge and experience that Elspeth, Eleanor and Sarah bring is another example of our commitment to delivering outstanding service to our clients.”

By Mersey Maritime

Peel Ports announces £300,000 training programme for existing staff

Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports is to offer training to around 100 existing staff in a £300,000 programme funded via the Apprenticeship Levy.

This is more than five times the 19 employees put through vocational training in 2018 and there training will cover topics from leadership to port operations and involve workers from sits in Liverpool, Manchester, Heysham and eventually Sheerness and Great Yarmouth.

The investment is part a wider programme of professional development that will see nearly 10% of the entire Peel Ports workforce of 1,600 taking part in additional learning throughout 2019.

Much of the training is being delivered in partnership with West Lancashire College, although Peel Ports also retains strong links with a range of education providers in the Liverpool city region.

Peel Ports’ chief executive Mark Whitworth said: “It’s always been clear to me that we must invest in our next generation of talent, as they will deliver and lead our services in years to come.

“I’m very proud of the support we’re providing these apprentices and even happier that so many of them have made such a commitment to their own personal development.”

Over the last year Peel Ports has continued to grow, increasing its headcount by almost 10%. It has also transferred-in more than 300 agency staff, underpinned by a new three-year pay deal and enhanced terms and conditions.

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool Airport enjoys highest passenger figure for seven years in 2018

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) handled 5.1m passengers this year – the first time it had broken through the 5m barrier in seven years.

The figure was a 3% rise on 2017 and was thanks to a number of new routes to destinations such as Bergen, Dalaman, Iasi, Palermo, Paphos, Pula, Shannon and Toulouse. LJLA now offers more than 70 routes.

In 2011 LJLA handled 5.3m passengers before seeing a fall as the effects of the recession began to bite. The airport’s best-ever year was more than a decade ago in 2007 when it handled 5.5m passengers.

LJLA’s strategic plan, which is presented to business leaders in March last year, aims to grow passenger numbers to 8m by 2030, pushing up Liverpool city region GVA contribution to £625m and supporting 12,000 jobs.

Liverpool also continued to be one of the UK’s best performing airports operationally in 2018. The Punctuality League – a report published by air travel intelligence company OAG, shows that LJLA had the UK’s best on time performance record in 2018, with over 84% of arriving and departing flights operating within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival and departure time.

Liverpool has the 7th best record in the world when compared to airports of a similar size for scheduled flight on time performance.

Queue times for passengers to go through airport security remained low throughout 2018, with 97% of passengers taking 10 mins or less to pass through security and over 80% taking less than five minutes.

This year is set to be another busy year for the airport, with new routes to Corfu, Copenhagen and Varna commencing in the summer. LJLA chief executive John Irving said: “2018 has been another very good year for the airport and for the region’s air travellers too, with Liverpool now offering an even greater choice of destinations and a fantastic passenger experience.

“As an important gateway airport, Liverpool also benefits the city region, the North West and North Wales with an excellent passenger experience and improved connectivity helping to attract more inward investment and boosting the region’s visitor economies.”

By Mersey Maritime

Offshore wind giant Ørsted installs 20 megawatt energy-saving battery in Liverpool

Offshore wind specialist Ørsted has announced that its first standalone battery energy storage system is now installed and operational in Liverpool.

The 20 megawatt battery at Carnegie Road comprises three battery containers, as well as the associated power conversion system, all supplied by NEC and represents a significant step into the UK’s £6bn energy storage market for the Danish company.

In order to conserve and make the best use of available electricity, the National Grid needs to keep the UK’s power grid balanced and stable by ensuring that the amount of electricity generated matches the amount of electricity used at any given moment.

Grid balancing services are tools used by National Grid to manage the UK’s electricity system. Due to the dynamic nature of battery storage systems, they are able to provide a highly flexible response to grid-needs and are therefore a valuable component of a modern, decarbonised energy system.

Ørsted operates the giant Burbo Bank wind farm in Liverpool Bay which it runs from its hi-tech operations centre on the Birkenhead bank of the River Mersey. The company already has a 2 megawatt battery connected to Burbo Bank.

Matthew Wright, UK managing director at Ørsted, said: “Climate change is a real and pressing threat to our planet and, in order to minimise its effects, we urgently need to decarbonise our electricity system.

“The good news is, we’re on the right path, especially in the UK, where we lead the world in deploying renewable technologies, such as offshore wind. We have a vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy, and that means we will need more than just clean energy generation.

“That’s why we’re investing in energy storage systems such as Carnegie Road, to accelerate the transition to a smarter, low carbon grid. Batteries, and other innovative storage technologies will form a critical part of an integrated green energy system required to ensure we keep the lights on without harming our planet.”

Beech Group opens doors on its new training facility
Wirral Chamber urges firms not to let Apprenticeship Levy funds go to waste 
Mersey Maritime takes leading role in major Government strategy
Port of Liverpool secures import deal with retailer B&M
Goodwin Electronics secures tie-up with Control Techniques
190 Club relaunches for 2019 to raise more money for the homeless
Essar confirms first opening of a Morrisons Daily at petrol outlet
Sensor City launches £100,000 support programme for SMEs
Three senior appointments for law firm Brabners
Peel Ports announces £300,000 training programme for existing staff
Liverpool Airport enjoys highest passenger figure for seven years in 2018
Offshore wind giant Ørsted installs 20 megawatt energy-saving battery in Liverpool