There aren’t many businesses capable of carrying out the kinds of projects South West-based specialist marine contractors Keynvor MorLift (KML) do on a daily basis, which made them the perfect choice for helping with the complex construction of sea defences for Hinkley Point C (HPC).
Formed almost 10 years ago, KML not only draws upon its founders’ decades of experience in the marine sector, but also owns, operates and charters a range of specialist vessels and equipment, providing vessels and crew for a wide range of projects, including subsea and surface device installations, operation and maintenance, recovery, project cargo, dredging, survey, marine heavy lift, civil engineering, salvage and towing.
The company has a long and successful track record working with some of the biggest names in engineering, including Alstom and Rolls-Royce, together with leading construction firms, which was key when it came to approaching HPC Tier 1 contactor Kier BAM Joint Venture about working on the giant HPC project.
“Very few, if any, companies out there have our level of experience and insight, not to mention the range of assets at our disposal, from barges and tugs to subsea and heavy lift gear,” explains Diccon Rogers, managing director of KML, which employs around 60 highly-experienced people, including 20 dedicated to HPC, with more to be recruited soon.
“We also had long-standing relationships with construction companies at HPC, so they knew they could rely on us to provide an excellent, reliable and safe service,” he adds.
HPC, like all nuclear power stations, has to be built at a coastal location to allow sea water to be channelled in and used to cool the reactor. As a consequence sea defences must be built, including the placing of enormous rocks to act as breakwaters.
KML, which has operational facilities in North Devon and Cornwall, has the role of sourcing and supplying those huge rocks, which are up to 12 tonnes in weight, and strategically placing them between HPC and the ocean tides.
In the spirit of ensuring the HPC development benefits the people closest to the construction, KML chose West-based materials suppliers over their foreign counterparts.
“We could have had the stones brought over from France,” explains Diccon. “However we decided it would be far better for the area if we instead got them from a more local supplier, and so the material has been sourced from a quarry in South Wales.
“The stone is taken from there by lorry to Pembroke dock before being loaded onto our own special rock barges and brought to the site at HPC where they will eventually be put in place to help protect the power station, so the entire supply chain exists here in the West,” he adds.
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce is managing the Hinkley supply chain portal and is the first point of contact for local businesses wishing to engage in the construction project.
“This is a truly amazing opportunity for the West of England and hugely positive for Somerset,” continues Diccon.
“We’re extremely proud and excited to be playing our part in this massive project and I would urge businesses to spend some time engaging with the HPC supply chain team and the Chamber of Commerce to look for opportunities which could be so valuable to your business.”