The significant value of A&P Falmouth to the Cornwall economy and barriers to the port growth was the focus of a ministerial visit yesterday.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable heard first hand the ambitions A&P Falmouth and partners have to secure the future prosperity of the port, as one of the largest employers in the county.
A&P Falmouth has a 400-strong skilled workforce with a £13 million annual wage bill; handles over 100 projects a year and the majority of the company purchasing is spent in Cornwall and the South West region.
The minister was briefed on the economic value of A&P Falmouth to Cornwall and how vital the Port of Falmouth Development Initiative is to ensure the port growth potential is achieved.
Dr Cable also met A&P Falmouth adult trainees and heard how the company is successfully creating local skilled apprenticeship jobs for local people.
A&P Falmouth Managing Director Peter Child said: “In the last four years we have taken on 33 adult trainees – investing in them and the next generation of highly skilled workers. This year alone we have taken on more than 20 new casual starters in our painting and services departments and we are planning an open day later this month to find more apprentices.
“In partnership with Pendennis, Falmouth Petroleum and the 30 other businesses based in the area, we employ 1,000 people in Falmouth Docks and directly support another 1,500 local jobs.
“Our ambitions for sustainable economic growth and the prosperity of Falmouth and the Duchy come with challenges. Our historic experience with our sister port, Falmouth in Jamaica, is that deep water ports are key to future growth and recent investment in a major cruise berth and terminal has turned around the fortunes in Jamaica. Technology is always changing: Azimuth thrusters are replacing conventional propellers which increase the draught of vessels. The older smaller ships that traditionally used Falmouth are being pensioned off. We firmly believe existing jobs can be secured and the growth potential of Falmouth in Cornwall can be achieved with a modern deepwater port that can handle modern vessels.”
Mr Child and Vice Chair of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners Tony Tomlinson met with the minister to explain why a deep-water channel was needed into the port to safeguard the existing port functions, as well as developing businesses which need bigger ships to come into Falmouth port with deeper drafts.
At tour of the yard by Dr Cable during his visit included meeting staff in the fabrication and engineering workshops. Dr Cable was welcomed on board the casualty ship RFA Argus by Commodore David Preston to see the first class 100- bed hospital facilities.
Press Release, April 10, 2013