Multi-million-dollar contract for city boatbuilder
By JOHN MASLIN
ANOTHER Wanganui company has proved that it can take on and beat the rest of the world.
Q-West Boat Builders Ltd has snared a contract with the New Zealand Police that spans the next 10 years and has earning potential measured in the millions of dollars.
The way that contract is structured means there's a prospect that other Government departments can piggyback on that arrangement, giving the Castlecliff-based company first call on other boat building contracts.
Nearing completion is the police launch Deodar III. There are three other near-identical boats being considered by police and customs and using the Deodar III as a blueprint represents earning potential of $12 million for Q-West on today's prices.
Colin Mitchell, Q-West's general manager, told the Wanganui Chronicle that a key part of winning the police tender is the "prime vendor" detail included in the agreement. "Q-West is now contracted to supply all NZ Police maritime vessel needs for the next 10 years. That's a significant contract for Q-West to hold," Mr Mitchell said. Yesterday Police and Customs officers were at Q-West's boatyard, checking over the Deodar III, the new boat that is going to the Police Maritime Unit on Auckland's Waitemata harbour.
The $3 million, 18.5-metre, twin-hulled aluminium vessel is powered by twin 810kW diesel engines through two Hamilton jet units and is on target to be launched and delivered next month.
Senior Sergeant Martin Paget, officer in charge of Auckland's Police Maritime Unit will become familiar with the 32-tonne next month and also on hand was Auckland Customs officer Steve Dix.
According to Mr Mitchell, the Customs Department is talking about getting a similar vessel about the middle of next year "but that has yet to be firmed up".
Mr Mitchell said the Deodar III was originally to have been part of a four-boat contract.
"That's still going to happen, because Customs is now talking about getting a vessel under way about mid-2008 but that is still to be firmed up," he said.
"But our contract now is for every marine vessel for the NZ Police, no matter its size, Q-West is the prime contactor.
"They come to us, we put a proposal forward, and if it meets their requirements, then we get the job without it going out to tender.
"What's even more important is that any other Government department can piggyback on that arrangement. That means those departments don't need to spend a fortune going to tender. They come to us, tell us what they want and we provide it," Mr Mitchell told the Chronicle.
He said this meant Q-West was in line to pick up a significant number of contracts.
"The original contract is for one vessel. However, there will be possibly up to four in total with NZ Customs having the second boat and the Police having the third to work out of Wellington.
"The fourth boat is likely to be a joint craft for Customs and Police," he said.
All the patrol craft will be essentially the same as the Deodar III.
And using that craft as a blueprint represents earning potential of $12 million for Q-West at today's prices. Mr Mitchell said the tender was offered worldwide, so Q-West was competing in a tough market.
"I understand the police received many tender options to consider," he said.
It was finally down to two boatyards - Q-West and the other in Australia.
"Each yard had to provide a vessel that was within 10 percent of the proposed vessel length, for extensive sea trials. Our proposal offered the best results in all respects, including performance, sea-keeping and fuel consumption," he said.
"We were helped by the fact we provided the most technically professional tender document."
Q-West again used Nic de Waal, of Teknicraft Design Ltd, to design the police vessel. Mr Mitchell said increasing the boatyard's workforce depended on future workloads and the exact start dates for each vessel. "We have and will continue to maintain and increase staff levels based on the workload. For the past 10 years we've been steadily increased staff numbers."
He said expanding the size of the Gilberd St yard again depended on workload.
"At present we're just managing the accommodate all vessels under construction or being refitted.
"It's one of the busiest periods we've ever experienced," Mr Mitchell said.