Foster encourages local firms to seize business opportunities with Crossrail

Photography: Parkway Photography.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan (right) congratulate Environmental Fabrications Managing Director Joe Donaldson (centre) on the firm’s success in securing a major supplier contract with Crossrail. The Dromore-based company will supply steel, gantry cranes and structural support to the £15 billion project to provide a new railway service for London and the South East. Also pictured are Martin Rowark, Procurement Director, Crossrail and Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive, Invest Northern Ireland.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today urged Northern Ireland businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that London’s £14.8billion Crossrail project has to offer.

The Minister was speaking during a visit to Dromore-based Environmental Fabrications which has already supplied 300 tonnes of steel to Crossrail, Europe’s largest infrastructure project which will build a major new rail link across London that is on a scale nearly twice the size of the London 2012 Olympics.

Arlene Foster said: “Crossrail is one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and presents huge business opportunities for Northern Ireland companies across a broad range of sectors. My department, through Invest Northern Ireland, is actively working to encourage and assist many more firms, like Environmental Fabrications, to investigate the wide variety of contracts available.”

The Minister was accompanied by Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan as part of an awareness drive to make sure firms from across Northern Ireland take advantage of the opportunities that will be on offer throughout the project’s supply chain.

It is estimated that Crossrail will create at least 75,000 business opportunities right around the UK for firms of all sizes and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs. More than three in five businesses currently winning work are based outside London and over half are SMEs.

Invest NI and Crossrail have also organised an event that will be attended by more than 50 local construction and civil engineering companies to meet with a number of high profile contractors working on the project, including Costain Skanska and Laing O’Rourke.

The Minister added: “We have a wealth of experience and skills here that are hugely beneficial when competing on the global stage. Our aim is to assist as many companies as possible to become part of the supply chains of the main contractors already involved in the project and those likely to win business in the future. I welcome today’s visit from the Crossrail Chairman and key Crossrail contractors to Northern Ireland to witness firsthand the capabilities and experience of our local construction and civil engineering industry.”

Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “Building a new railway in London doesn’t just benefit the southeast of England – it supports jobs and creates business opportunities right around the UK, including here in Northern Ireland. There will be billions of pounds worth of contracts coming up over the next few years so it’s vital that firms don’t miss out on the opportunities that Europe’s largest construction project has to offer.”

Environmental Fabrications has won four contracts on Crossrail to date. It has fitted gantry cranes, access platforms and handrails to sites in east London and Kent to help transport concrete segments that will be used to line the new rail tunnels underneath London. The company employs around 20 people, the vast majority of whom have worked on the contract, demonstrating how Crossrail is supporting jobs and growth throughout the UK.

Joe Donaldson, Managing Director of Environmental Fabrications in Dromore said: “We learnt about the opportunity through the CompeteFor service which provided helpful guidance and instructions on completing the tender process. Securing this contract with Crossrail has helped us to pick up more work for our workshop here in Dromore and has prompted us to open a new office in the East of England to accommodate our business growth.”