Business North March 2021

44 | MARINE Heron Ship Repair Investment drives firm’s expansion Karen Phelps Heron Ship Repair has replaced and modernised the sixty-year old steel slipway cradle. Phone: 03 983 5500 Your Business, Your Industry, Your News. DO OUR READERS KNOW YOU EXIST? S ince Whangarei-based Ship Repair NZ was purchased in 2018 by Heron Construction, significant investment has seen the company expand its workforce and offering. Heron added its initial to the existing com- pany’s name to become Heron Ship Repair (HSR) to reflect the change of ownership, while retaining all the existing personnel, and with it, the local knowledge, says HSR general manager Nick Eilering. He says work is now more constant and the company has been able to employ an additional 16 full time staff taking the number of employees to around 56. “We used to have peaks and troughs of work as vessels came in for repair,” says Nick. “Now we also have a lot of in-house work from Heron Construction to even the work- flow out.” Recognising the value of being sited on one of New Zealand’s four deep-water ports, heavy investment in infrastructure saw the company replace and modernise the 60-year old steel slipway cradle. A new cradle, designed by John Whittington of CJW Design with assistance from HSR slip master Mark Guerin, was constructed. The former cradle was demolished for scrap and major components for the new one were built by HSR on site with assistance from local Whangarei businesses for machining and corrosion coating systems. The new cradle was let down for the inau- gural first two vessels to take advantage of the advanced equipment on 11th February 2020. Both craft were tugs, the Pacific Way, and the Takahiwai. Nick says that the multi-million dollar up- grade to HSR facilities reflects its commitment to Northland and has also meant the company can now service vessels up to 1800 tonnes – a marked difference from the 1200 tonnes it could previously handle. Investment has also been made into equip- ment including three new modern cranes meaning greater efficiency. HSR also boasts a new blasting and painting facility. Whereas previously this work was subcontracted out, Nick says HSR now has full control over the entire process resulting in greater efficiencies and cost savings for customers. The changes mean the business is thriving in what has been a challenging environment for many in 2020. HSR was an essential service during the Covid-19 lockdown ensuring essen- tial vessels remained functional. “As a major component of the Whangarei marine hub and with Covid-19 causing economic hardship for many, the timing of such major investment by HSR can’t be over-estimated, particularly with the talk of rail capacity and a potential move of Ports of Auckland to Northland. Business is flourishing for HSR and this has a flow on effect for many other businesses and families in Northland,” says Nick. Ship Repair NZ was started in 2006 by Nick’s father Henk and his wife Mary so he is heart- ened to see the company transition to HSR and continue the proud legacy of growing it to a major ship repair, survey and ship building company. HSR offers a number of services: ship repairs, heavy fabrication and marine en- gineering, custom ship refits and ship surveys. Nick says a focus on training and retaining highly qualified staff remains a major driver. “This gives us expertise in-house and ensures that we have a highly capable team ready to go at all times to meet customer demand. It also means that our staff are hard working and prepared to go the extra mile to meet our customers’ requirements and time lines,” he explains. HSR is presently working on a number of projects including hull repairs and gener- al engineering modifications for a private superyacht, structural works for Culham Engineering and various projects for the fishing and tug industries. Nick says business is steady and continues to grow with bookings for 2021 looking good. “We used to have peaks and troughs of work as vessels came in for repair. Now we also have a lot of in-house work from Heron Construction to even the workflow out.” Quality fabrication for industrial and domestic use Marine engineering: additions, repairs and innovations! Pipe manufacturing and installations (09) 438 8860 7 Hewlett Street, Whangarei Ph. 09 9559 381 • Produc tion En gineering • Abrasiv e Blasting & Painting • Hot D ip G al vanising AVON INDUSTRIES LTD 31 Pipiwai Road, Kamo PO B o x 27, Whangarei New Z eala nd P h: 6 4 9 435 1 033 Fax: 64 9 435 2 565 Em ai l: avonind@ca llpl Proud to support Heron Ship Repair