Whitechapel, February 2013
Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Government searches outside London for Crossrail deals

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, has looked to Northern Irish companies to back London’s £14.8bn Crossrail infrastructure project.

Speaking in Dromore, County Down, on Tuesday, Ms Foster spearheaded UK-Northern Irish links to support what will be Europe’s largest infrastructure plan to build a major new rail link across the capital city.

Crossrail is anticipated to create approximately 75,000 business opportunities around the UK for firms of all sizes, while the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs are expected to be supported.

Project organisers emphasised that more than three in five firms engaged in the scheme are based outside London and over 50% are SMEs.

Speaking at Dromore-based business, Environmental Fabrications, which has supplied 300 tonnes of steel to Crossrail, Ms Foster commented on the project.

She 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’s visit was arranged by Invest NI and Crossrail, and was attended by 50 Northern Irish construction and civil engineering companies who met with high-profile contractors already working on the project, including Laing O’Rourke and Costain Skanska.

Ms Foster 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.”

Crossrail’s chairman, Terry Morgan, added: “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.”

Crossrail has appointed Environmental Fabrication to four contracts to date, and it has fitted gantry cranes, access platforms and handrails to sites in east London and Kent.

Joe Donaldson, managing director of Environmental Fabrications, concluded: “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.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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