BAE Systems closes UK shipyard

BAE Systems is to close its Portsmouth shipyard by mid-2014 as major shipbuilding contracts come to an end, the company told Steel First.

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BAE is rationalising its shipbuilding operations by closing the Portsmouth yard and moving future activity to yards in Glasgow, Scotland.

Job losses will total 940 in Portsmouth in 2014 and 835 jobs will be cut across BAE’s Scottish yards and its office in Bristol, England by 2016.

BAE has been building two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, six Type 45 destroyers and working on two export contracts for some years.

“We are at a peak of shipbuilding activity for our yards. It is the biggest peak seen since the second world war,” a BAE spokeswoman said.

BAE wants to avoid a skills gap in the period between the aircraft carrier contracts finishing and the next round of building on the Type 26 Global Combat Ships, she added.

This gap will be partiality filled by the manufacture of three Offshore Patrol Vessels at the Glasgow yards, BAE announced on Wednesday November 6.

“The implementation of these restructuring activities will sustain BAE Systems’ capability to deliver complex warships for the Royal Navy and secure the employment of thousands of highly skilled employees across the UK,” the company said.

The two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers were built with 80,000 tonnes of steel plate, the Royal Navy said.

The hull of each Type 45 destroyer contains about 2,800 tonnes of steel, according to the Ministry of Defence.

BAE systems employs 4,100 people in the Portsmouth yard, of which 1,200 are involved in shipbuilding, the BAE spokeswoman said.

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