Associated British Ports (ABP) has commissioned a fleet of nine new fast and fuel-efficient pilot boats in a deal worth around GB£9m.

pilot boat contract signing

ABP and Goodchild Marine teams meet to sign new pilot boat contract. Photo: ABP

The vessels will be constructed by Norfolk, UK-based Goodchild Marine Services and will be delivered over the course of the next five years. Construction of the first vessel has already begun and it is expected to be delivered to ABP’s Humber region in 2021. In total, ABP has commissioned five vessels to serve its Humber ports, three for Southampton and one for Barry in South Wales.

Mike McCartain, ABP’s group director for safety, marine and engineering, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to award this significant contract to a UK manufacturer who is at the leading edge of pilot boat technology. This will also help support existing local jobs and the regional economy which is great news given the current economic conditions.

“The state-of-the-art vessels will improve the efficiency of port operations and will ensure that we can continue to service our customers’ needs to a very high standard.”

ABP and Goodchild Marine Services have had a long history of productive collaboration. In July 2019, Goodchild Marine delivered its second pilot boat to ABP, the Kingfisher, which has been supporting operations at the Port of Lowestoft. This followed the delivery of their first pilot boat for ABP, the Osprey, more than 25 years ago.