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Plans will see various major ports across Britain benefit from the modernisation of various support vessels in and around naval bases in particular. The deal will see 36 new harbour support vessels, including tug boats be ordered to replace ageing fleets, as well as increase capacity in busier ports. The contract under tender has been split into two distinctive parts. The first will be to support “In-port marine services” with the second designed to provide delivery of a vessel replacement programme.

THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MoD) has announced it is launching a tender to expand Britain’s port capabilities in a £595m deal, with several Royal Navy bases set to benefit.

Royal Navy bases across the UK will benefit from the project, with naval bases in Clyde, Devonport, Portsmouth as well as Glen Mallan, Loch Ewe, Loch Striven and Campletown all due to profit.

According to the tender, the project is for the “Operation and maintenance of 82 UK Ministry of Defence owned vessels used for the provision of the services, under a Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) agreement, ensuring availability of services on a 24/7/365 basis.”

Included in the specification are services such as towage for entitles vessels, HM dockyard movements, passenger transportation, storage, transport and waste management.

Added to this, support for military training exercises, emergency support and additional maritime support is included in the plans.

Portsmouth

Major naval bases will benefit from the upgrade (Image: Getty)

Ministry of Defence

The MoD has tendered a £595m contract for the project (Image: Getty)

The tender demands any project must be “Built and maintained to UK Flag and Class classification standards and introduced into service in accordance with an agreed Integrated Test Evaluation and Acceptance Plan.

“Responsibility for the identification of shipyard(s) that best meet the requirement in respect of design, delivery time and Value for Money (VfM).

Disposal of redundant vessels will be the responsibility of the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA).”

In addition to the vessels, the MoD will also seek provision for contracts including oil pollution and control equipment, intellectual property protection and fuel for the planned vessels.

The document outlining the plans stated: “In December 2022, the Royal Navy will take ownership of a fleet of vessels which currently provide In-Port towage, transportation of passengers, and harbour movements of commodities such as stores, ammunition, waste, fuel and other liquids for the UK Naval Bases in Devonport, Faslane and Portsmouth.

“An estimated 37 vessels from the current fleet will require replacing from 2025 to ensure these critical services continue to be provided safely and effectively to the Royal Navy.

“The vessels will be Government-owned but contractor-operated.

“Subject to approved funding, the replacement vessels will be purchased on behalf of the MoD, with it being the responsibility of the contractor to identify the shipyard(s) that best meet the requirement in respect of design, delivery time, and value for money.”

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Devonport

Devonport is one of several key naval bases likely to benefit from the project (Image: Getty)

Logistics

The plans will include vessels to support port logistics (Image: Getty)

A Government statement on the plan read: “First published in 2017, the National Shipbuilding Strategy outlined ambitions to transform naval procurement, securing export and design contracts for British naval ships.

“Building on that success, this refresh outlines the government’s further ambitions to reinvigorate the whole British shipbuilding industry.

“Over £4billion of government investment will galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, with new measures including better access to finance, vital skills-building, and funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.

“Designed in partnership with industry and delivered by the recently formed National Shipbuilding Office (NSO), the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh will also deliver a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations over the next 30 years.

“The vessels will include large warships, Border Force cutters, lighthouse vessels and the new National Flagship.”

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Tug boats

Tug boat upgrades are included in the tender (Image: Getty)

Aside from Britain’s naval bases seeking to expand capability, civilian ports have also shown promise in recent weeks.

The Port of Felixstowe has broken its own record for the most containers handled on a single ship for the third time in two months.

The latest benchmark was set when a total of 27,961 TEU (standard containers) were handled on the MSC AMELIA which sailed from the port on 8 March 2022.

Prior to that 25,852 TEU had been handled on the Moscow Maersk the previous week and 23,773 TEU were handled on the MSC DILETTA on 12 January 2022.

For more stories like this, follow Express.co.uk Defence and Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter: @JamesLee_DE

Felixstowe

Felixstowe has seen record numbers of containers unloaded as business picks up (Image: Getty)

Commenting on the latest record, Robert Ashton, Chief Operating Officer at the Port of Felixstowe, said:

“The increasing size of container ships places great demand on port resources and we are pleased with the way we have responded to this challenge.

“We are continuing to invest in the people, infrastructure, systems and equipment needed to service the growing number of ultra-large container ships on the world’s major trades as well as the increasing volume of containers on each ship.

“The logistics of such an operation are immense and we will continue to work closely with the 2M partners, Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to help achieve their objectives to supply the current high demand for Far East imports to UK consumers.”

(The Ministry of Defence has been contacted by Express.co.uk for further comment)



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