Rix launches sea shuttle venture

RIX is launching a new business aimed at capitalising on the development of offshore windfarms backed by an initial £7.5m investment.

The firm is launching Rix Sea Shuttle which will provide crewed vessels to ferry wind turbine technicians to where they are needed offshore.

Rix signalled its intentions earlier this year with an order for three vessels to be built by Dunston at the Hepworth Shipyard Rix owns on the Humber.

That order has now grown to five to be operated by Rix Sea Shuttles, a new division of the family-owned J.R. Rix and Sons business whose diverse interests already range from caravan manufacturing to fuel distribution and retailing.

James Doyle, director of Rix Shipping, told TheBusinessDesk.com: “We are being reasonably cautious about this but we do see opportunities and want to make sure we have a critical mass of vehicles that allow us to do what we want to do.

“We are a reasonably significant business in the area and we are used to working offshore so this feels like it fits pretty will with us. We have also recently exited the dry cargo market so this is diversification but keeping in an industry we know.”

Mr Doyle said that success in securing contracts for the first vessels would be the trigger for Rix making a further investment.

The first two boats are due to be delivered early next year with two more following by the end of 2013 and a fifth in 2014.

Each of the aluminium vessels is capable of carrying 12 technicians and can reach speeds of 30 knots.

There are thought to be around 150 vessels currently in service suitable for servicing offshore wind farms with up to 700 needed as the industry grows in the next few years.

While the expected development of a major wind turbine manufacturing plant by Siemens is due to make the Humber a hub for the offshore wind industry, Rix is also looking to take advantage of developments further afield such as the London Array in the Thames Estuary.

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