Williams Shipping reaches for the sky

Industry Database

Williams Shipping has acquired a new 100 tonne crawler crane with a boom of 42 metres. The crane operates out of the Marine Base in Southampton (UK) Eastern Docks and will typically carry out lifts of up to 50 tonnes.

The crane, manufactured by Japanese firm Kobelco, is used to load and offload goods as well as being used on ship refitting and construction projects. Williams’ road haulage division can transport the crane anywhere in the UK and the versatility is such that it can also be driven on to Williams’ barges to be used as a floating crane.

The 120-year-old family firm, which also has a base at the Royal Dockyard in Pembroke, partially funded the investment using a hire purchase facility from Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance. Joint Managing Director Colin Williams said: “This is a state-of-the-art piece of machinery that will significantly increase our lifting capacity. It is more economical to run, quieter and it helps to de-risk our business. We are enjoying good trading conditions at the moment and we are very upbeat about the opportunities we are seeing from a number of big infrastructure projects.”

Williams Shipping was founded in 1894 when George Williams bought a former Royal Navy rowing boat, which he converted into a small sailing barge and used it to deliver cargo around the local area.

Today, the company is run by George’s great-grandsons, joint managing directors Eric and Colin Williams together with great-great-grandsons Philip and Jonathan Williams and works largely in the oil, defence, aviation, marine construction and shipping sectors. The group has expanded its operations into road haulage, shipping container hire and sales, port services like towing and loading cargo, and the supply of marine lubricants. The £13 million turnover business has 80 staff and a fleet of 20 boats, 20 trucks and 50 trailers.

Peter Smith, Regional Manager, HP & Leasing, Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance, said: “Williams Shipping is a company with a long history in Southampton and this substantial investment will help secure an equally long and prosperous future.”

By Jake Frith

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