Home       News        About Us        Links       Site Map    
Naval Shipbuilding Homepage
Regional Campaigns / Policy
The Shipyards
Barrow Shipyard - Capabilites
Test and Commissioning
Barrow Superberth
Operational Excellence
World Class Skills
Design Skills
Current Shipyard Vacancies
Part of the MARS solution
Barrow Community
Defence in North West England


Northwest Shipbuilding

North West England's

The Shipyards - Of North West England

Header Shadow

There are two large shipyards within NW England:

  • BAE Systems Maritime Submarines  at Barrow in Furness, Cumbria 
  • Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, Merseyside.

They have national and international supply chains. For example,the supply chain benefits of the submarine programme operating out of Barrow extends to almost every postcode area of the UK. There is much potential for more companies to be involved in the supply chain.

BAE Systems Maritime Submarines owns Barrow shipyard. Its core business is nuclear submarines and it is the north west of England's largest operational shipyard covering 169 acres.

Cammell Laird at Birkenhead delivers RFA ship and comercial ship repair as well as shipbuilding.It is currently delivering future aircraft carrier flight deck sections.

Shipbuilding is an important jobs multiplier, with research suggesting the multiplier effect is between 1:1:17 to 1.96 – this means that for every shipbuilding job two other jobs are created.

Employment in naval shipbuilding at Barrow-in-Furness totals 5,100 people.At Birkenhead over 400 are involved. 

22% of BAE SYSTEMS top suppliers are based in north west England, more than in any other region. Between 2004 and 2009, Barrow's supply chain spend across the UK totalled £361m.


BAE Maritime Submarines

Barrow shipyard has a long standing track record of design and construction of first of class naval surface ships and submarines, it employs over 5,000 people at its 169 acre site where the facilities can be used to  build large warships and submarines.

480 people are employed by BAE Global Combat Systems in Barrow manufacturing naval guns and other armament products, such as the  prototype 155mmm naval gun, on an adjacent site in the town and more are employed in Customer Solutions and Support.

For a fuller description of the capacity and capability of the naval shipbuilding resources at Barrow in Furness, go to www.baesystems.com

James Fisher & Sons plc

James Fisher & Sons plc are the UK’s leading provider of marine services, operating in 3 areas:-tank ships , cable laying vessels and marine support services to customers such as Ministry of Defence, oil and gas firms.

James Fisher & Sons plc have a 25% part share of a 20 year PFI shareholding to provide the MoD with a Military Strategic Sealift Capability through AWSR Shipping.

James Fisher MIMIC Limited, supply maintenance and related asset management services to the Royal Navy – offering condition based maintenance systems which are installed in the majority of Royal Navy warships.


The other north west shipyards are to be found on Merseyside, at Cammell-Laird, A & P Birkenhead Limited, McTay Marine Limited, and Northwestern Shiprepairers Limited.


Based on the Mersey, a river with proud maritime traditions, the company has built up an enviable reputation, for first class workmanship, impeccable safety standards and exemplary industrial relations. Cammell Laird’s current workload is split around 50-50 between MOD and commercial sector work. The yard is actively seeking to grow the business in the international commercial market targeting North America, Scandinavia and the Gulf of Mexico for ship conversion, refit and repair work.

It specialises in the commercial repair/upgrade, conversion, heavy fabrication/engineering and military refit marketplace and shipbuilding.The mix of facilities can cater for any type of project from the largest refit or conversion to the shortest-duration docking of a small coastal vessel offering the following services:

  • Ship-building
  • Ship-repair
  • Ship-conversion
  • Ship-refit
  • Ship-outfitting
  • Heavy Fabrication
  • Specialist Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Marine Coatings and Blasting
  • Thermal Insulation & Sheet Metal Work

The ‘core’ workforce averages between 275-300 men and 40+ administration and project personnel, which is regularly augmented by a further local skilled labour pool of over 200 men. Subcontractors regularly on site usually account for a further 100-150 tradesmen. This gives a total of over 600 skilled shipyard tradesmen available locally. This can be further augmented by national sub-contractors and labour agencies.

The Merseyside yards include four dry-docks ranging from 125m x 21m to 289m x 42.7m. These dry-docks are supported by well equipped and substantial work-shops, storage areas and office infrastructure.

Cammell Laird and Tyneside based shipyard A & P have ‘preferred bidder status’ to construct the large central blocks, or flights decks, of the carriers worth £150m.

Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret said “This shipyard has an immensely proud history of building Royal Navy aircraft carriers including two Ark Royals,” he said. “Being awarded preferred bidder status is a major endorsement of the skills and expertise we have worked so hard to rebuild here over the last eight years. If we do win this contract it will safeguard and generate jobs for local people and work for local businesses.”

The aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy, nearly three times the size of the current Invincible-class carriers.

McTay Marine Limited

McTay design and build vessels in steel and aluminium up to 60m in length including tugs, ferries, barges, pilot boats, survey vessels, coasters and fishing vessels, fast patrol boats, landing craft and towed array recovery vessels. 150 people are employed at McTay, which has an 80m build hall with 25 tonne cranes, and 100m fit-out quay.



^ Top


Contact Us

Emlyn Hughes House,
Abbey Road,
Barrow in Furness,
Cumbria LA145PQ

Tel: +44 (0)1229 314100

Email: stuart@fedf.co.uk

KOFAC Sept Newsletter
Keep Our Future Afloat
The Future Aircraft Carrier
More Downloads

All downloads are in Adobe pdf format

       Find KOFAC on Facebook

"Barrow remains an untapped source of production capability and could... play a significant role in the coming shipbuilding programme."

Source: Rand, page 153 The UK's Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Base (2005), Report to UK MoD

Copyright 2017 © FEDF. All rights reserved in association with provider Furness Internet Ltd.