05 October 2000 | David Arminas
Britain's ailing shipbuilding sector is to be the subject of a major supply chain mapping-out exercise aimed at making the industry more competitive globally.
The government has given a £2.8 million grant to the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association (SSA) to fund the project.
"It's hard to say if the shipbuilding industry is falling behind the times because each UK industrial sector operates differently," said Tom Dougherty, assistant director of the SSA. "But everyone in the shipbuilding and repair industry agrees that we need a strategy."
The whole sector will be included in the study, expected to last a year. "It will be a condition-setting project," said Dougherty, who believes some cross-sector initiatives could be on the way by the middle of next year.
"There's been a trend towards more project management, as in the construction industry, where sub-contractors are brought in earlier," he said.
The grant comes via the government's Link scheme, which supports collaborative research.
In September, Belfast shipbuilder Harland & Wolff said it planned to halve its 1,200-strong workforce. There could be more cuts, depending on productivity. Harland has no new orders.