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

By Mersey Maritime

McLaughlin & Harvey seek local subcontractors for major Liverpool job

McLaughlin & Harvey are looking for local subcontractors for various work packages on the proposed Liverpool Cruise Terminal. Aiming to engage with the local supply chain, they will be holding a ‘meet and greet, event on Tuesday 13 November 2018 at Liverpool Town Hall from 10am.

There are approximately 48 packages in need of fulfilment, with procurement processes already in motion for some areas. Local businesses that are able to provide packages in the following areas should attend the event for more information:

  • Structural Steel
  • Cladding
  • Partitions
  • Ceilings
  • Floor Finishes
  • Architectural Metalwork
  • Decoration
  • Earthworks
  • Hard & Soft Landscaping
  • MEP
  • Roofing
  • Marine Works
  • Precast & Insitu Concrete Work

The event will provide an effective platform for subcontractors and suppliers to meet some of the key individuals of the project team.

The proposed terminal development includes dismantling the redundant and derelict jetty and construction of the new terminal on a new jetty in the River Mersey. The scheme also includes new public open space, hard and soft landscaping and associated coach and cark pick-up and drop-off facilities.

The new cruise terminal is 10,000sqm in size and will be constructed on two floors; the ground floor being the Baggage Hall and entrance lobby, and the first floor will include the passenger lounge, check-in area and cafe. The new terminal will be connected by a pedestrian and vehicular link-span bridge to the existing Cruise ship landing stage.

This will enable the world’s largest cruise ships (up to 3,600 passengers) to embark and disembark at Liverpool and is expected to directly create more than 500 new jobs.

To register your interest please click here. 

By Mersey Maritime

Hugh Baird seeks industry support for the next generation of Engineers

Hugh Baird College are looking for employers who could support the development of their students by providing industry work placements.

The students, aged 16 to 17 years old, will be ‘work placement ready,’ already having a good level of technical and practical skills relating to their area of study.  The placements should enable them to further develop their knowledge and skills through high quality experiences within a real working environment, lasting 45 days or more.

This is a fantastic opportunity for employers to grow the ‘workforce of the future,’ while supporting students to develop vital employability skills to aid their progression into industry upon completion of their studies.

The curriculum areas the college are currently seeking industry placements for are within construction and engineering; specifically electrical engineering, carpentry and joinery.

If you think you can help support this programme please contact Shulah Jones at Hugh Baird College, who would be delighted to discuss this with you further.


By Mersey Maritime

The Apprentice Ship Cup – June / July 2019 Information Event

Following the overwhelming success of this event in previous years, MAST is once again organising a Tall Ship Regatta offering Apprentices and Trainees the life changing opportunity to crew a Tall Ship.

Studies undertaken by several of the worlds’ leading Universities and Business Organisations found that Sail Training as an activity has a profound impact on strengthening character, fortitude and self-confidence, helps to foster team work, personal discipline and respect for colleagues.

The same studies also found that these are achieved in a shorter time frame than other similar expedition type activities and the benefits were sustained long after the Voyages were completed.

Companies interested in placing their Apprentices or Trainees on a Voyage in June / July 2019 are invited to join MAST at their information event – details below.

‘The Apprentice Ship Cup (ASC 2019) Information Event

Date: 13th November 2018 

Time: 10.00am – 1pm on the

Venue: Shankly Hotel. Millennium House, 60 Victoria Street, Liverpool L1 6JD’

If you would like to attend the presentation, then please let Jim know by email or phone 07801 680514.

By Mersey Maritime

Essar Oil UK continues to grow its retail network

Wirral-based Essar Oil UK is continuing to grow its petrol retail network and has now opened its 54th branded site.

Essar has rebranded its first Shell site to company colours with the commissioning of Oundle Road service station in Thrapston, Kettering. Run by dealer Karl Rashid and his family since they acquired the site in 2008, the station is a thriving business with a successful Londis store, and has been Shell branded for the last 10 years.

In addition to Oundle Road, the Rashid family also own and run Frilford Service Station in Oxfordshire which has a capacity of more than 5m litres.

Major supplier

Essar’s oil refinery at Stanlow on the banks of the Mersey supplies more than 16% of the UK’s road fuel and employs almost 1,000 people. The global Essar Group acquired the then loss-making Stanlow in 2011 from Shell and has since invested £650m turning it into a sustainable and profitable business.

Members of Essar’s Retail Team joined Mr Rashid and staff to celebrate the opening, which included a lucky pump promotion which saw five customers receiving £10 off their fuel purchases.

Mr Rashid said: “I thought long and hard about moving from the Shell brand, with no shortage of offers from other suppliers. However, I was very impressed by the way Essar approached the negotiations, and the fresh new look the branding has given my site is fantastic.

“We have had a really positive response from our customers, who love the new look and are welcoming the fact that, thanks to the competitive offer from Essar, our pole sign price now is considerably lower.  The move is really going to enable me to build the business.”

Exciting times

Essar territory manager Sam Edwards added: “I am delighted to welcome Karl to the Essar family. These are exciting times for us, with a healthy number of other stations due to be opened under our brand by the end of November.”

Every year Essar’s Stanlow site produces 4.4bn litres of diesel, 3bn litres of petrol and 2bn litres of jet fuel. More than 9m tonnes of crude oil and feed-stock processed each year, making it one of the biggest refineries in the country.

By Mersey Maritime

Blockchains are heralding a new era in shipping, says specialist lawyer

A revolution in e-commerce is happening right now and the impact on the global shipping sector in the coming years will be immense.

That was the message delivered by Julian Clark, global head of shipping at Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson, who addressed members at the monthly Mersey Maritime Face-to-Face networking event.

Industry transformation

‘Blockchain’ is a word that many people in business may have heard without being sure what it actually means. According to Julian, blockchains will transform the way shipping companies do business and, in some ways, could be as significant as the emergence of the internet itself.

“When the world wide web was invented, some people were saying it would come to nothing,” he said. “Remember that, because some people are now saying the same thing about blockchains.”

So what is a blockchain? Put simply, a blockchain is a system of computers, in which information is stored and shared among all participants of the network and the concept originally emerged to allow transactions using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.


Julian explained further: “A blockchain is a public and decentralised ledger that can be used to monitor and track products as they pass through a supply chain and that chain can be monitored in real time by all the participants.”

Because the information is not stored on a single computer or server, but instead is recorded in many locations, it means it cannot be hacked or tampered with so is seen as far more secure from an e-commerce perspective.

Julian added: “It is like a giant vending machine with a glass front that no one controls. It cuts out the middle men, increases speed and efficiency of transactions, reduces costs and increases profit.”

More in tune

As well as being a lawyer, Julian offered his own experience as a musician who writes, records and publishes his own music. He said blockchains had revolutionised the process of getting a piece of work from conception to market.

It would require an array of “middlemen”, including publicity and copyright agents, a record company, a sheet music company, a distribution company and both physical and online distributors and could take well over a year. Under a blockchain system most of those intermediaries are cut out and the process can be expedited within days.

“I believe in 10 years there will no longer be a need for record companies,” said Julian.

“Blockchains offer a single, seamless system. Everyone on the network can find out about any problems all at once. In shipping, companies such as Maersk are leading the ways on this.”

Dispute resolution

Julian added blockchains also offered the potential to solve disputes quickly as the technology can anticipate disputes before they even happen. However, he also acknowledged there were some issues to address.

“Not all smart contracts will be recognised by the courts,” he said. “The technology is moving forward very quickly and regulatory regimes are struggling to keep up. Blockchains could also create a problem of information overload for everyone on the network.”

However, he added: “Blockchains will be the next big game-changer.”

By Mersey Maritime

Senior NATO advisor to deliver talk at Liverpool’s Western Approaches

Liverpool’s amazing Western Approaches visitor attraction is to host a fascinating talk by Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command.

The Vice-Admiral is NATO’s principal maritime adviser and has operational Command of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces and he will deliver a talk entitled The Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945: The Atlantic today and in the Future.

The talk, taking place on Wednesday, November 14, will be held in the iconic Western Approaches Map Room and will be preceded by an opportunity to tour the Western Approaches Command Centre in the city centre and will be followed by a buffet dinner.

Doors open at 5.30pm and the talk starts at 6.30pm with the buffet dinner being served from 7.45pm. Doors close at 9pm and any guest with specific dietary requirements should email

Price is £40 per person. Click here to book your place

By Mersey Maritime

Accountancy training firm AT Solutions offers ACCA qualifications

Birkenhead accountancy training firm AT Solutions is now able to offer classroom-based delivery of the globally recognised ACCA qualification at its Hamilton Square premises.

AT has delivered all levels of the globally recognised AAT qualification and Computerised Sage payroll and Sage Accounts for several years.

Its tutors bring a wealth of accounting and business experience from long careers in the accounting and finance profession, often in management roles, which is ongoing and kept up to date.

Its trainers are AAT qualified themselves and holding teaching qualifications, enabling them to fully ascertain and identify the needs of students whilst they progress through each section of their course.

Delivery is offered over three hours per week, with both evening and day options, reducing the time employees are out of their working environment whilst gaining qualifications that will benefit the business.

Enrolment is undertaken throughout the year and the course offer a number of benefits:

  • Practical work-based skills that employers need.
  • Skills and experience required to become self-employed in the bookkeeping/accounting profession.
  • Effective and speedy learning.
  • Dedicated training facilities close to major transport links.
  • Small classroom sizes – no more than 10 students per class.
  • Progress and review feedback.
  • Delivery over 3 hours per week for each level (day & evening).
  • Structured Examination timetable for each unit/level.
  • On-site training, if required, for a number of computerised accounts & payroll packages.
  • Referral discounts

By Mersey Maritime

Member of the Month: Stellamar

Employment solutions business Stellamar has enjoyed significant growth since its launch in April 2015 and is now looking to expand beyond its Southampton home.

Stellamar has just established an office in Glasgow and now the Liverpool city region is also firmly in its sights with founder and managing director Alasdair MacMillan seeing “huge potential” in the maritime and professional services sector in Merseyside.

Employing 14 people, the business specialises in high-end recruitment and HR consulting.

Rapid growth

Alasdair’s original plan when he first set up the venture was to spend more time at home with his partner who had just given birth to their youngest child. But such was the initial success, it didn’t quite work out that way.

He said: “Within three months I was turning over between £10,000 and £15,000 a month. I was doing very well from a very small initial client base centred around the cruise ship industry – I quickly realised the volume of work would be too much for just me.”

Once the HR consulting arm of the business was developed and in place, Stellamar took office space and, such was its growth, it had to move offices within the same building three times in 12 months, upgrading to bigger accommodation each time.

Right people

The company’s focus is very much on the maritime sector, finding the right people for both seafaring and shore-based roles across a wide range of specialisms. It deals directly with ship-owners and ship managers as well as consultancies and OEM’s in the maritime supply chain. That also includes professional services firms in areas such as accountancy and insurance.

Alasdair stresses the firm is very much focused on the higher end of the recruitment market – rarely going below the £60,000 a year salary level. He added: “We are a headhunting organisation and we are not embarrassed about the fact that we work very proactively.

“Once we identify the candidate we want we will go straight in through the front door. We find the right people for our clients quickly and that saves them time and money.”

Professional networks

Key to their success and continued growth is the depth and quality of their professional network, he says. Stellamar is now very well known in the maritime and professional services sectors and that knowledge enables them to find the right people quickly.

“What is really important for us is time-efficiency,” said Alasdair. “The more time-efficient we are, the more efficiency we can pass on to our clients – this also allows us to work on more assignments. Central to this efficiency is our ability to network and become the “go-to” people in our niche sectors.”

Port cities

Now, with expansion in mind, Stellamar is looking at other famous port cities with successful maritime clusters. Alasdair says when Glasgow is up and running in a couple of months then Liverpool will become a real focus, with its fast-growing maritime cluster already generating almost £4bn a year in GVA.

The firm has joined Mersey Maritime and Alasdair adds that the organisation is already proving to be a very valuable resource. He added: “We are actively looking for talent to spearhead a new office for us in the Liverpool area as we already deal with clients that have operations in Merseyside.

“Liverpool city region has huge potential and not just from a ship-owner/manager perspective. There are many types of organisations within the maritime sector that we feel would benefit from having us there. We are also dealing with a number of financial services organisation in the North West.

“Mersey Maritime has been pivotal in allowing us to start spreading our message and helping us to identify what our vision will be once we are established. Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke has done a phenomenal job for us so far in getting us access to the right networks.

“I firmly believe you get out what you put in. Of course it is about job creation and wealth creation – but it is also about bringing people and companies together that have shared values and ideas.

“We are very much attracted to the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in Merseyside. That is 100% something that we share and we hope that we can play our part in driving the economy forward.”

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool seminar to look at chronic port gridlock in Nigeria

Traffic gridlock in the Apapa port area the heavily populated Nigerian state of Lagos has repercussions for anyone trading with the West African state.

Recent reports suggest the delays, mainly caused by the inefficient ports operations, suggest the problem is getting worse with no obvious solution forthcoming from the Government.

A survey carried out by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, claimed the crisis was costing the the country $(US)10bn in non-oil exports every year.

A leading Nigerian academic will address the issue at a seminar in Liverpool in November. Dr Edmund Chilaka, a lecturer the School of Transport at Lagos State University will speak at the seminar – The Impact of Apapa’s Traffic Gridlock on Global Maritime Trade and Nigeria’s Economy: The Case for Re-design and Renewal of the Port City.

The event will take place on Wednesday, November 21, at the Geographical Information Centre, Roxby Building, University of Liverpool.

By Mersey Maritime

See images and flythrough video of new Liverpool Cruise Terminal

These are the latest stunning images of Liverpool’s new £50m cruise liner terminal with a fly-through video now also available to view.

Liverpool City Council has released the images and 90-second video detailing the new terminal that will be built off Prince Dock, part of Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters development.

Click here to view the flythrough video

It shows the terminal, its passenger and baggage facility, complete with security checking and customs areas, lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank, coach and car passenger drop off and pick up point, short-term car park and four-star hotel.

The reveal of the RIBA Stage 4 designs for the terminal, which will be constructed at the Princes Jetty Site along Princes Parade, follows a pre-planning consultation with residents and businesses in relation to the new 200-room hotel which would be opposite the terminal.

The fly-through video also shows how the 100,000 sq ft terminal would be built on two floors with the baggage hall in the ground floor and the passenger lounge, café and check in on the first floor.

It also depicts how it will be connected to the existing cruise ship landing stage by a vehicular and passenger link-span bridge and walkway.

The proposed terminal development would comprise the dismantling of the redundant and derelict jetty and construction of the new terminal on a new jetty in the River Mersey. The scheme will also include new public open space, hard and soft landscaping and associated servicing arrangements.

An outline planning permission was granted for the scheme in April and the city council has applied through Mersey Docks and Harbour Company for a Harbour Revision Order for the construction of the Jetty in the Mersey.

By Mersey Maritime

Bathgate helps family flooring firm to secure £250,000 of funding

A Liverpool-based flooring company has set its sights on ambitious expansion plans after securing a £250,000 bespoke finance package.

Walton Flooring Centre worked with Wirral-based finance specialist and Mersey Maritime member Bathgate Business Finance to secure a series of deals that would support the growth plans of the family-owned business.

The largest family-owned flooring company in the North West, Walton Flooring Centre has grown from just one store in Walton in 2011 to five across the region in less than seven years.

Growing demand

Established in 2011 by father and son team Edward and James Harper, the business was launched with just £9,000. The pair worked seven days a week and clocked up four measures a night to meet unprecedented demand for their products and high-quality service.

The company responded to this demand by opening branches in Wavertree, Huyton, Burscough in West Lancashire and – most recently – Moreton, Wirral in September 2017.

A move into the lucrative contract market in 2018, with its high upfront purchase costs and longer payment terms, combined with a challenging period for retail sale at the start of the year, moved the company to seek short term cashflow support to enable it to continue its growth plans.

New deals

Accountant Alan Woods, managing director of Woods Squared, introduced Walton Flooring Centre’s father and son team, Edward and James Harper, to Paul Trickett at Bathgate.

The firm brokered a number of deals that allowed Walton Flooring Centre to redistribute tax and VAT payments. It also secured two working capital loans worth a total of £110,000 to finance everyday operations, ensuring the company had enough money in reserve to support its expansion strategy and foray into contract work.

With finance in place, the flooring firm now plans to move from its current 6,000 sq ft headquarters to a new 36,000 sq ft unit in Huyton in early 2019, which will house its head office function, Huyton operations, warehouse and a training academy.

It also aims to accelerate its store launch programme, planning five new locations for 2019 creating an estimated 11 new jobs, as well as launching two e-commerce websites to further increase revenue.

Healthy position

James Harper, managing director of Walton Flooring Centre, said: “Despite a challenging start to the year we’re approaching our busiest sales period in an extremely healthy position. We are starting to see the results of our investment into the contract market, which is a new area for us and significant opportunity to increase revenue.

“The financial solutions provided to us by Bathgate Business Finance have made it so much easier to operate and forecast cashflow, allowing us to invest more confidently in stock.”

Paul Trickett of Bathgate added: “It has been a pleasure to support James and Edward through this growth cycle and help a truly fantastic family business continue to thrive.

““We’ve worked together to ensure that our team fully understands their business in order to understand what works best for them and source the very best, tailored solutions. We’re proud to have them as part of the Bathgate family now and wish them every success with their bold business plans.”

By Mersey Maritime

Birkenhead-based SeaKing engineers fixing superyachts across the world

Maritime engineering company SeaKing Electrical is growing its presence in the luxury superyacht market with a record number of deals this year.

In the nine months to September the Birkenhead firm undertook repair and upgrade jobs on 18 superyachts, beating its previous record of 17 jobs in the whole of 2017 and its attendance at the Monaco Boat Show in September is likely to lead to more work.

The company, which employs more than 100 people, has worked in the Mediterranean in Cadiz, Cartagena, Genoa, La Ciotat and Barcelona as well as Miami in the US and Antigua in the Caribbean. SeaKing managing director David Gillam said the company is seeing increased demand for its electrical services on yachts ranging from 34m to 120m in size.

Track record

He said demand is expected to continue as yachts return from charter at the ‘close season’ in October. He said: “Superyachts are a highly specialised sector and owners, shipyards and charterers want to work with engineering companies with a clear track record.

“SeaKing has worked hard for 10 years to build up technical knowledge and experience of superyachts drawing on our heritage of working extensively on warships, ferries, cruise ships and commercial vessels.

“The prime work we have carried out this year on superyachts includes inspections, audits and repair of faulty or inefficient equipment. Our teams have worked in shipyards or at sea undertaking works covering bridge integration, power generation, propulsion, automation, earth monitoring systems as well as CCTV and security systems.”

Technical team

He added: “A project on a 80m yacht in saw our design and technical team complete a load balance from conception. Another job in Italy required our engineers to remove an obsolete unsupported ship management system and install a new Deif system together with integration with the ships generators.

Mr Gillam said all of SeaKing’s installations are carried out to meet strict industry requirements.

“Superyacht customers are keen to identify innovative ways to make their vessels more energy efficient and environmentally friendly towards marine life,” he added. “This includes power generation and propulsion systems, lighting and entertainment systems.”

Mr Gillam said SeaKing’s team has further travelled to Abu Dhabi, Canada, Germany and Spain this year to carry out superyacht survey work.

McLaughlin & Harvey seek local subcontractors for major Liverpool job
Hugh Baird seeks industry support for the next generation of Engineers
The Apprentice Ship Cup – June / July 2019 Information Event
Essar Oil UK continues to grow its retail network
Blockchains are heralding a new era in shipping, says specialist lawyer
Senior NATO advisor to deliver talk at Liverpool’s Western Approaches
Accountancy training firm AT Solutions offers ACCA qualifications
Member of the Month: Stellamar
Liverpool seminar to look at chronic port gridlock in Nigeria
See images and flythrough video of new Liverpool Cruise Terminal
Bathgate helps family flooring firm to secure £250,000 of funding
Birkenhead-based SeaKing engineers fixing superyachts across the world