Edinburgh's Forth Ports snaps up Dundee owner of UK’s largest quayside crane in fresh renewables push

Edinburgh-based Forth Ports has acquired a Dundee business whose specialist heavy lifting kit includes the UK’s largest permanent quayside crane.

By Scott Reid
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 7:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 7:46 am

The purchase price for OM Heavy Lift has not been disclosed but bosses at Forth Ports said the deal enhanced the firm’s ability to offer an “attractive, full-service package” for offshore renewables projects.

The group, which owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK, seven of them in Scotland, said: “OMHL is a well-established, professional project engineering company that has worked closely with Forth Ports on a number of large-scale projects in the renewables and decommissioning sectors.”

OMHL is said to have an “unrivalled” fleet of specialist heavy lift plant equipment and will work across Forth Ports’ Scottish operations, including the ports of Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth and Dundee.

Alex Fyfe, managing director of OM Heavy Lift, and David Webster, director of energy at Forth Ports on site in the Port of Dundee with OMHL’s heavy lift cranes in the background. Picture: Peter Devlin

The business will continue to be led by its managing director, Alex Fyfe, who will work directly with David Webster, as the newly appointed director of energy for Forth Ports.

Fyfe said: “This is an exciting new chapter for OMHL as we combine our skills and expertise with the broader Forth Ports business. We have a strong relationship with the Forth Ports team that we look forward to developing further in the fast-growing offshore renewables market.”

Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “Today’s news is another important strategic move for Forth Ports as we secure our place in the offshore renewables sector, following the recent announcement of the ScotWind leasing round.

“We are investing significantly in Dundee and Leith to create an attractive offering for offshore renewables which will support the country’s transition to net zero.

“The acquisition of OMHL, coupled with that of Targe Towing, places Forth Ports in a strong position to play a leading role in supporting Scotland’s offshore renewables future.”

Webster added: “With the OMHL team coming on board, we can now offer a complete, integrated service solution for offshore renewables customers, anywhere within our ports business in Scotland, from marine towage right through to quayside cranage and laydown land.”

Last month, Forth Ports unveiled a trio of leadership roles as it restructured its senior team.

The group said it was making the changes to reflect the “increasing importance of its ports in the offshore renewables sector and the general supply chain”.

Webster was appointed as director of energy. He will be responsible for integrating the company’s energy team in Scotland with a view to building its strong market position in the energy sector, and in particular, offshore renewables.

Ross McKissock was appointed as “director of unitised”, responsible for integrating the commercial team on unitised container and trailer cargo across the group and growing volume. Meanwhile, Derek Knox was appointed as head of operations, Scottish Ports.

Hammond said: “These new senior positions come at a key time when we are focusing our business on the important areas of offshore renewables, containerised cargo and a resilient supply chain.

“As a group we are investing significantly across the business in these areas including our bespoke renewables hubs in Leith and Dundee and our freeport freight hub in the Thames.”

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Edinburgh's Forth Ports unveils new leadership roles amid renewables push

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