Undersea vehicle experts move in at Port of Tyne

An SMD worker with one of the hi-tech vehicles
An SMD worker with one of the hi-tech vehicles

A leading remotely operated vehicle firm is relocating its servicing operations to the Port of Tyne’s Tyne Dock estate in South Shields.

Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) is already a global leader in building underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for the global oil and gas, telecommunications and renewables industries.

Working on a sub sea machine

Working on a sub sea machine

SMD’s head office and heavy production facility will remain in Wallsend and the company will continue to manufacture ROVs at the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate in North Shields.

Servicing, maintenance and training operations will transfer to the new facility at the Port of Tyne.

The firm will occupy a 23,000 sqft unit at Tyne Dock, which has been modified to offer bespoke accommodation for SMD.

Inside, the company will be carrying out repairs and upgrades, and will offer training via state-of-the-art simulation technology designed to mimic sea conditions.

One of the firm's vehicles

One of the firm's vehicles

Graham Puntis, SMD managing sirector, services, said: “As well as focusing on new builds, SMD Services enables us to increase our presence in the after-market by helping customers to get the most out of their assets so they can remain where they should be - at sea for as

long as possible.

“The move to Port of Tyne is about a number of factors, including location. We need good access for offshore vessels bringing equipment directly to us for repair, maintenance or overhaul. As this aspect of our work continues to grow the move also provides us with the

necessary expansion capacity.”

SMD currently employs 220 people with 50 members of staff now based at Port of Tyne, and that figure is due to rise to 80, plus additional offshore support workers as operations continue to expand.

Alasdair Kerr, Port of Tyne Commercial Director Port Services, said: “We have adapted one of our multi-purpose units to accommodate SMD. “It’s tailored to the company’s needs and represents a major investment for the business and for Port of Tyne.

“We look forward to being part of SMD’s future success as it continues to build on its world- class reputation.”

The Port of Tyne is now home to over 100 commercial tenants.