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Cammell Laird charges up energy division with new managing director

posted on January 5, 2017 categories Corporate News

Cammell Laird is to ramp up its operations in the energy sector with the appointment of a new managing director.

Jonathan Brown joins the energy division of the famous Birkenhead UK shipyard and engineering services company from Rolls Royce where he led its nuclear new build and projects group. Mr Brown has previously worked for BNFL, Serco and AWE.

Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret CBE said Mr Brown would be charged with expanding the company’s drive to grow across nuclear, renewables and the oil and gas markets.

“Cammell Laird has a long-term plan to diversify into the energy markets and we are pleased that Jonathan has joined us to help spearhead our operations,” he said.  “Our aim is to become one of the prime contractors in Britain serving the energy industry. The programme to build 10 new nuclear power plants around the UK is a £100billion opportunity with decades of work. It is an excellent fit for our workforce, which has transferable skills, and our extensive engineering facilities. By growing across the energy sectors Cammell Laird can strengthen its position as a key driver of job and wealth creation for our region supporting supply chain businesses across the Northern Powerhouse and wider UK. We believe we could win billions of pounds worth of work and create thousands of jobs over a 20 to 30 year period in nuclear alone.”

Mr Syvret said Cammell Laird’s prime offering is its capability to build modules of up to 5000 tonnes.

“Using our facilities (see notes to editors) and stable workforce of around 1200 skilled workers, in full time and sub-contractor positions, we are able to solve a big headache for industry,” he said. “We can build large modules off-site and then sail them from our River Mersey location anywhere in the UK, Europe and further afield. The alternative of sourcing and retaining a temporary skilled workforce to undertake conventional construction on-site is very expensive, time-consuming and difficult. Using Cammell Laird is more cost effective and our quality systems and experience of building modules for the likes of the aircraft carrier project means that we can demonstrate predictability in the build schedule. This is very important as any delays in the nuclear industry can have a massive knock-on effect of lost production time leading to even higher cost and lost revenue. We offer a very strong solution across the energy industry, particularly nuclear where the new build programme is now gaining momentum at the Hinkley and Wylfa power stations.”

Mr Brown said he was attracted to work at Cammell Laird as few British companies can match its unique and highly competitive package of engineering services.

“Cammell Laird offers reliable, competitive 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 training and quality records. My job will be to take that model to the energy industry and show how Cammell Laird can apply its system engineering and integration skills in other sectors.

“We will also be promoting Cammell Laird’s ability to solve big problems with logistics services. Frequently major construction programmes do not have the on-site storage capacity required. So their ability to store and protect new plant equipment is very limited which means equipment gets held up with the manufacturer which is expensive. By locating equipment at Cammell Laird it reduces cost and the location is perfect for ‘just in time’ multi-modal delivery across sea, road, rail and air.”

Mr Brown said Cammell Laird is working on a number of projects with new partners in line with  Government innovation and growth objectives including the ground-breaking catapult centre network. In addition, Mr Brown is leading on a new partnership with the American nuclear power plant manufacturer Westinghouse and the UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), examining small modular reactors. 

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Cammell Laird has been increasing itsinvolvement 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.”


Renewable energy work has accounted for up to 10-15 per cent of Cammell Laird’s total revenues in recent years.  Cammell Laird signed a deal in 2011 to support RWE, the German energy company that is developing the Gwynt y Mor wind farm about 18km off the north Wales coast. The farm is one of the largest in the UK, with 160 turbines and a capacity of 576 megawatts.

Much of the equipment, including the turbines, has to be shipped over from European countries such as Denmark. Cammell Laird, which has the largest docks on the UK mainland’s west coast, has been used as the base port for the operation.