LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

The SMS Group becomes the only ship repairer within Southampton Docks

The SMS Group are relocating their Southampton headquarters as part of a longer-term plan to ensure both sustainability and commercial longevity.

The business will proudly become the only ship repairer based within the Port of Southampton.

The SMS Group has an enviable reputation as specialists in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the Commercial Marine, Defence, Cruise and Superyachts sectors.

The business will move to Western Avenue, within ABP Southampton’s footprint adjacent the King George V drydock.

The move represents a strategic decision to move the business closer to its core customer base, and at the same time improve its geographical location.

SMS Southampton is headed up by Ben Rowe and Dave Chaffers.

Ben Rowe, General Manager, said: “Since the acquisition of 2017 we deliberately, and decisively, made the decision to retain the Western Avenue site within our Estates Portfolio to ensure that when the time came we we’re best placed to capitalise on the benefits of this historically proven footprint.

“I started my career on the footprint as an apprentice for Testbank Ship Repair. Up until 2005, the site was A&P’s home - perfectly adjacent to the 366m King George V dry dock. The site is great, the location perfect and the move long overdue.”

Dave Chaffers, General Manager, said: “We’ve taken this decision now due to three very credible reasons.

“One, the time is right, as a Group, and as a Business Unit, we’re trading profitably and ahead of budget.

“Two, the site is perfect - it’s within the port, adjacent to a main transit route, easily accessed from the M271; it’s close to all the ports agents, and, as Ben’s mentioned, the site is historically proven to be good home for ship repairers.

“It makes up part of our Estates Portfolio and the location is second-to-none; it really is ideal.

“And three, it coincides nicely with the planned ‘change of purpose’ at Ocean Quay; they’ll be undertaking further works of non-marine restoration which is contrary the modern profile of SMS and that of our customers’ requirements.”

The SMS Group will be investing in both the fabrication workshop and the new mechanical workshop.

The site will benefit from new signage and further investment in the offices.

The location will also improve the company’s quayside presence, and its mobility with the city’s port infrastructure.