South Shields company wins award for bringing docks back to life

INDUSTRY AWARDS ... UK Docks' John and Harry Wilson show off the company's latest award
INDUSTRY AWARDS ... UK Docks' John and Harry Wilson show off the company's latest award

A SOUTH Tyneside-based company has scooped a major industry award – for the second time in its history.

Founder of Tyne Slipway and Engineering Co (TSL) Harry Wilson has grown his business over the past 20 years from its base in South Shields to a national company – UK Docks.

We’re pleased to be in a position to keep bringing business, jobs and security to the North East in one of its traditional industries.

Harry Wilson, Tyne Slipway and Engineering Co

Last year, UK Docks, which has boat repair facilities on the Tyne and a dry dock on the Wear, took over two mothballed dry docks on the Tees.

It was the work bringing those docks back to life, helping to create 100 new jobs in the process, which has won it an award from the Joint Branch of the Royal Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

The authoritative body’s annual North East shield acknowledges the way the company has bucked a historic, domestic trend, and it is the second time the award has been presented to the company.

UK Docks managing director Harry Wilson, who collected the award with sons Jonathan, Chris and Gary – who are all involved in running parts of the business – described it as a great honour.

He said: “This is the second time we’ve won it. The first was when we re-opened the dry dock in Sunderland in 2002. It is nice to think that, all these years later, we are still re-opening docks in the North East.

“We started off in South Shields in 1995 as Tyne Slipway, expanded into Robson’s Boat Builders in 1998 and Sunderland Dry Dock in 2002.

“Over time, the company has been fortunate enough to enjoy success in the industry and that has seen us opening up boat repair facilities on the south coast of England at Gosport and in the north west at Whitehaven.

“But we’re very proud of what we are doing right now in Middlesbrough.

“And we’re pleased to be in a position to keep bringing business, jobs and security to the North East in one of its traditional industries.

“We’ve come a long way from those first few years in South Shields but we are still completely committed to the region.”

Awards committee member John Eltringham, said: “UK Docks Marine Services deserve enormous credit for taking a very brave step.

“When I first started out in the marine business in the North East in the 1980’s there were 27 dry docks in the region.

“Now there are only a handful.

“So it was a sign of great ambition and determination for UK Docks to take on the Teesside docks.

“They are worthy award winners and deserve great credit for what they are doing.”