The river Tyne’s most historic heavy lift crane, which worked on great maritime vessels like Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious in the golden era of the shipyards, has been refurbished by the City Council.
The complex refurbishment will help to bring millions of pounds of additional orders for local engineering firms and increase the region’s competitive advantage.
The load capacity of Walker Quay’s historic 1930 large Hammerhead crane – now the biggest in England - has been increased from 250 to 320 tons, substantially reducing logistical costs to local and international manufacturers.
It will now be able to shift much heavier loads which will open up the region to a wider range of offshore energy customers and increase inward investment.
The crane, a key landmark in the rich history of the river Tyne, is pivotal to the area’s continued success in attracting investment in the key growth sectors of alternative energy, oil and gas.
The cost of the multi-million pound upgrade, carried out by local firm Konecranes, will be repaid by increased business through the quay and the crane.
The complex restoration of a remarkable piece of heritage infrastructure will secure employment opportunities, generate additional work and introduce new businesses and markets to Walker Riverside, a central hub of the UK renewable energy technology sector.
The renovation initiative played a key role in helping to secure a major £30m investment from steel wire rope manufacturer, Bridon International. The state-of the-art facility at Neptune Quay will produce multi strand ropes in gross package weights of up to 650 tonnes - making them by far the largest and most complex in the world.
The council’s ambitious investment its own commercial infrastructure underlines the critical role it plays in stimulating private sector growth and creating jobs as part of the council’s working city agenda.
This investment supports the expansion of trailblazing private sector companies like Bridon, Duco, Wellstream, Shepherd Offshore and other renewable sector partners in the economic hub of activity within the region who have created hundreds of jobs.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “This investment underlines the importance of partnership between the public and private sectors and our continued investment in our key infrastructure as we plan for growth.
“We are playing an active role in enhancing economic activity on the Tyne, using our resources to support private and public partners in driving forward development and creating jobs.”
Alexander MacConaill, the Bridon Neptune Quay Project Manager, said: “The renovation of the Walker Quay hammerhead crane played a very important role in the decision to locate Bridon’s new manufacturing site in Newcastle.
“Bridon Neptune Quay will produce the largest and most complex ropes in the world, some weighing up to 650 tonnes. Bridon will rely on the Walker Crane for the removal of a significant percentage of the end products produced on site, and having a crane capable of meeting the challenges presented by Bridon’s newest product ranges will be vital to the smooth running of the new facility.”
Page last updated: 17 August, 2012