Wind firm's Grimsby HQ switch is toasted as GRO Centre launches

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 7 May 2019

CWind has been officially welcomed to Grimsby, with a £300,000 investment to create a ‘new’ headquarters toasted.

The offshore wind contractor is moving its administrative base from Chelmsford in Essex, taking on Orsted’s initial site at Port of Grimsby East, renamed the GRO Centre.

The company, which has operated out of Grimsby as the industry has developed, is joined by workwear supplier and service provider Comtec International and HeliPPE.

MMS, a crew transfer vessel operator, has also established a presence, with pontoons for both it and CWind to operate directly from.  

Ian Bryan speaks at the launch, with Charles Marr and Martyn Boyers listening intently. 

Ian Bryan, chief executive of CWind, joined Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises chief executive Martyn Boyers and chairman Charles Marr to officially launch the remodelled facility.

He said: “Grimsby is fantastic, it is close to our customers, and a real growth hub for the industry, with a fantastic supply chain, fantastic skill base and really good supportive group of stakeholders. All of this adds up to a fantastic deal for a growing business to make our headquarters here. This brings all this together.

Read more: Port's new offshore wind hub is open for business

“It is a fantastic initiative by Charles and Martyn, it has been a really, really smooth move, and they have done a fantastic job. We are going to move out headquarters to Grimsby, where we already have 20 people working onshore and 50 offshore. That is going to grow significantly at this fantastic facility.” 

CWind announced its intention to develop a base in the town back in March 2018, initially looking at the far North Wall, but Orsted’s East Coast Hub development in Royal Dock created the opportunity on Service Quay.

Charles Marr, Martyn Boyers and Martin Vickers MP at the launch. 

Mr Marr, who cut the ribbon on the building – from where Westermost Rough and Race Bank wind farm builds were orchestrated – said: “As a board we thought for some considerable length about what opportunities it might give to us and when Dong (Orsted’s former name) gave notice we were determined to make a go of it. 

“We managed to negotiate the purchase of the building and the great news is that the enthusiasm of everybody in filling this centre has been absolutely wonderful. There is a special thank you from the board to Martyn, as his drive and determination to create this wonderful facility is great credit to him and the team.”   

It comes as opportunity in offshore wind is accelerated once more, with the sector deal now followed by the Committee for Climate Change’s aspirations for 75GW of energy by 2050.  

Grimsby was also held up as the exemplar by RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal at Offshore Wind Connections 2019 conference in Hull yesterday (Thursday, May 2). 

MMS and CWind vessels moored at Service Quay.

Mr Boyers paid tribute to the team that had worked to modify the building for its new use, as well as adding further storage facilities where trawlers were once loaded with coal, while underlining the support from North East Lincolnshire Council with the vision.

“I thought it was significant what Ian Bryan said about Grimsby and what good things are going on,” he said. “Grimsby brings everything together. Not just us as the port operator, but working with ABP, NELC and other organisations like Grimsby Renewables Partnership and Team Humber Marine Alliance to establish the estuary as the main base in the UK.”

Read more: 'Make the Humber the global home of offshore wind' - Renewable UK CEO

North East Lincolnshire Council chief executive Rob Walsh, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers and several professional and industry associates watched on as the launch was made, with tours given of vessels MMS Supreme and CWind’s Artimus. 

Catering was even themed with Docks Beers and Alfred Enderby’s new street food venture Ro-Ro, moored on site.

A strong turn-out to see the launch.

Mr Vickers said: “This is another development where the changing face of what was the fish docks can be seen in stark reality. In days gone by the North Wall was lined with trawlers, then came the gradual decline. The story of the docks is now renewable energy, a rebirth, and it is good to see new jobs coming in and a growing emphasis on this in terms of climate change. 

“We are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this and expand further, and I’m sure we can.”

It follows James Fisher Marine Services recent expansion, with Tritton Knoll offshore wind farm's Royal Dock presence also confirmed in February.

Base will ‘up the game’ in the business of safety

Mads Enemark Noergreen of HeliPPE and Jonathan Isaac of Comtec Int, toast their Grimsby arrival. 

Across the hall within the GRO Centre a new era of protection for offshore wind personnel has been ushered in.

Danish companies Comtec Int and HeliPPE have opened, supplying personal protective equipment and related services.

It is described as the only centre of its kind, providing retail, rental and service of PPE packages – a one-stop shop for staff working at heights, and being transferred either by helicopters or boats offshore.

Strategically positioned to be integral to the growth of the Humber’s offshore wind energy cluster, it is the second UK operation for Comtec which opened in Hull in 2014, and a first for

Heli PPE as it expands its operations across Europe. Three jobs have been created with more expected.

Michael Halberg, chief executive of HeliPPE, said: “Both companies understand the unique requirements of the offshore industries and have grown through an emphasis on providing an excellent service to meet their needs. Our Offshore Wind Supply Base will up the game enabling companies to be more effective.

“Since starting the business in 2013, HeliPPE has already expanded from Denmark into Germany and Holland and we’ve been looking at the UK for some time, so the partnership with Comtec Int in this location is ideal for us.”

Jonathan Isaac, director at Comtec Int, said that the concept and location would be supremely convenient for customers as the offshore wind industry continues to grow.

“After developing Comtec Int’s presence in the UK over the last five years, we knew that being so close to the action in Grimsby would enable us provide absolute support to our larger customers as the industry gets bigger and bigger.

“The base takes our services to a new level and enables us to be exceptionally responsive so customers don’t suffer any equipment ‘downtime’. Crew transfer vessels can berth

outside the building and what could be more convenient than that.”

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