UK/Dutch VolkerStevin was contracted for the of upgrading Mare Harbour in the Falkland Islands, a job which was completed six weeks ahead of schedule and within budget. The improvements to the roll on roll off jetty were part of a £19m contract with VolkerStevin for design and construction.
The company said that working in remote islands in the stormy South Atlantic requires incredible thorough planning. However, the use of local labour and materials, as well as wider involvement with the local supply chain, was exemplary
Air-freight capacity can be booked solid with food and other essential deliveries for weeks at a time; if you forget a part or need a replacement, there is no overnight delivery to get things moving again.
To upgrade Mare Harbour for the Ministry of Defense, VolkerStevin decided the first step to ensure efficient delivery was to limit the work it had to do on the Islands itself.
Major components were manufactured into modules off site and easily fixed together at the harbour. VolkerStevin estimates this cut the amount of onsite work by half, a valuable saving given the small market for subcontractors on the Islands.
Local suppliers were still needed, though, and VolkerStevin worked to forge strong links with them. It took time to get to know its supply chain on the Islands so that when equipment did break, it was able to draw on local knowledge to find the one company that could fix it, thereby saving the project from weeks of potential lost time.
Leaving nothing to chance, VolkerStevin even carried out a historical analysis of winter weather on the Falklands to be able to estimate with some confidence the likely amount of downtime in this wind-battered part of the south Atlantic. This planning led to a more assured delivery.
The offsite construction, tightly sequenced delivery of components and weather forecasting pointed to “an incredibly thorough approach” to planning and delivery, according to the judges.
VolkerStevin also introduced its Safety Ripple best-practice initiative to its supply chain; the contractor says local firms have since incorporated some of the health and safety approaches into their own operations.
The judges said: “The introduction of health and safety standards on the island was very positive, and the use of local labor and materials, as well as wider involvement with the local supply chain, was exemplary.”
The new facility will enable larger 20,000 tons Point Class vessels to berth in the harbour, delivering up to 85% of the military supplies such as hardware, food, building materials and commercial freight needed on the Islands.
The new berthing facilities on the jetty will allow goods to safely roll on and roll off from the Falkland Islands Resupply Ships (FIRS). The deliveries made by these ships are vital to military capability, maintaining life on the Islands and to ensuring the complex schedule of building and development works continue as planned.
In addition to the jetty, VolkerStevin has also replaced walkways along the berth, lighting improvements, capstans and a PA system. Firefighting capabilities have been upgraded as well.
This £19m contract is part of a £180m overall investment by DIO (Defense Infrastructure Organization) to improve facilities on the Islands over the next 10 years. Additional works include improvements to the power station at Mount Pleasant Complex as well as new services accommodation at the three Remote Radar Heads on the Islands. There are currently around 1,200 military and civilian personnel based in the Falklands supporting defensive air, naval and land assets, including RAF Typhoon aircraft, helicopters, Royal Navy patrol vessels and an Army infantry company.(CN)