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


By Annette Parker

Merseyside engineering company Cammell Laird announced today (27 June 2017) it is ramping up its activity in the nuclear sector after being awarded around £200,000 in Government funding to develop the concept of building off-site modules for Nuclear New Build projects.

Cammell Laird energy division managing director Jonathan Brown said the funding from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) would be used run a series of events examining how best to build and test large modules at ‘off-site’ locations before transporting them to nuclear sites for installation. Mr Brown said there are many advantages to building off-site including cost savings, more efficient build and schedule times as well as not having to recruit a large temporary workforce to build on-site. The project is being led by Cammell Laird supported by industry heavyweights including the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), Arup, Fraser Nash and Laing O’Rourke.

“We are absolutely delighted to win this funding for our Fit for Modules project,” he said. “It allows Cammell Laird to apply its maritime experience in the nuclear industry, building on our extensive track record of building large modules of up to 5000 tonnes for the aircraft carrier programme and the Sir David Attenborough polar ship. Our aim is to bring together key industry players, including end users and supply chain companies, to brainstorm the challenges and propose solutions. We plan to publish a final report with our findings in April next year detailing areas for improvement known as ‘interventions’. The report will then be considered by Government which will run further programmes to implement the agreed interventions.”

Mr Brown said working out the best way to build a supply chain would be a prime objective of the Fit for Modules project.

“From Cammell Laird’s viewpoint it is essential we develop a robust reliable supply chain to support the construction of modules,” he said. “That is precisely what we have developed for our maritime operations and what we want to replicate for nuclear new build. And we know that organisations like Nuclear AMRC can really help develop the small and medium business supply chain bringing companies up to speed with what is required and expected in a highly regulated industry.”

Mr Brown said finding significant cost efficiencies is fundamental to the project’s success.

“The nuclear new build programme estimates a potential spend up to £100billion over 30 years,” he said. “It is therefore imperative that as an industry we make the programme work from a cost and schedule perspective, stripping out waste and any unnecessary expense. Building modules off-site is one way to make the new build process much more efficient, cost effective and less risky for our investors.”

Mr Brown said there are massive incentives for the UK to become the world’s leading experts in off-site modular construction.

“By bringing industry together like this through Fit for Modules we can lay the foundation blocks for the UK to develop a complete industry specialising in off-site modular build,” he said. “If we can make a success of building modules for the domestic nuclear sector we can spin that expertise out to exports markets as the UK looks to ramp up exports post-Brexit. Moreover, we can also extend that expertise to other sectors like utilities, rail and major infrastructure projects like airport expansion, which all require large modular build.”

News that Cammell Laird has secured a new batch of funding comes after it recently announced a major new partnership with Nuclear AMRC, part of the Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. The partnership will see the opening of a new facility on July 4 within Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead site focused on off-site module build researching a wide range of areas supporting the assembly, commissioning and transportation of modules of up to 5000 tonnes, where Cammell Laird benefits from its coastal location.

Mr Brown said: “Cammell Laird offers reliable, cost effective and flexible solutions to multi billion pound industries crying out for experienced support,” he said. “Cammell Laird has shown, in the maritime industry, it can be that anchor of system engineering, managing quality and providing schedule certainty. It takes responsibility for complex build projects such as the £150m Sir David Attenborough polar ship delivering the engineering, manufacture, skills development and quality records. We already have strong links with universities and colleges on Merseyside, but through working with the Nuclear AMRC we can further develop our modular expertise. We can draw on Nuclear AMRC’s formidable nuclear and wider academic expertise through its links with the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester to make Cammell Laird’s offering even more compelling.”

For further details contact: mailto: / call: 44 151 649 6600 / visit:

Image shows: Cammell Laird energy division managing director Jonathan Brown




Cammell Laird is one of the most famous names in British industry with roots tracing back to the early 19th Century. The business is located on the River Mersey, in the Liverpool City Region, on the West Coast of England. It has a 120 acre site with four dry docks, a non-tidal wet basin, large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops.


Cammell Laird has been increasing its involvement in the UK’s nuclear sector for several years. In 2010 it agreed to work with Nuvia towards manufacture of modules for decommissioning and for new build, and in 2011 the companies were joined by Ansaldo Nucleare of Italy, which is experienced in AP1000 work.

Meanwhile in 2014 John Eldridge, one of the most experienced figures in the UK nuclear industry, joined Cammell Laird from Sellafield Ltd nuclear plant in West Cumbria to help grow its operations. He has a track record of more than 40 years working on the design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities.

Cammell Laird has also invested more than £1.5m in renovating one of the large workshops near its famous construction hall. The refurbishment has seen six cranes overhauled and a new roof, floor, electrics and lighting installed. It provides a world-class facility to test and assemble modules and rigs for our nuclear clients.

In 2016 Jonathan Brown joined Cammell Laird to lead its energy division from Rolls Royce where he led its nuclear new build and projects group. Mr Brown has previously worked for BNFL, Serco and AWE.



About A.Parker
MERSEY MARITIME Mersey Maritime is the representative body for the Maritime Sector and related industry sectors operating across the UK's Liverpool City Region, bringing together over 1250 businesses whose activities contribute some £3.47bn - or 13% - to the region's GDP. The cluster is the broadest and largest outside of London, reflecting Liverpool's long history as a maritime mercantile city. As a city region that has maritime embedded in its DNA, Mersey Maritime is working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University to address an agenda centred on skills, innovation, R&D and business support that will help facilitate further growth and job creation. The organisation is co-located with LJMU at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, Wirral (UK).


Mersey Maritime is one of Europe’s most successful maritime cluster organisations, representing the interests of over 1700 Maritime, Logistics and Energy businesses on Merseyside and beyond.

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