Nine new state-of-the-art pilot boats have been ordered by Associated British Ports in a £9 million investment to enhance operations.
Norfolk-based Goodchild Marine Services has been commissioned to build the vessels, which are faster and more efficient than the current fleet.
Construction is underway and they will be delivered over the next five years.
Five of the vessels will head to the Humber, with three for Southampton and a ninth heading for South Wales.
Simon Bird, ABP Humber regional director, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to award this significant contract to a UK family-owned boat builder and we very much look forward to receiving delivery of the new fuel-efficient boats.
“The Humber is the UK’s busiest trading estuary and this addition to our fleet will help us continue to provide the highest standard of service to ABP customers.”
ABP and Goodchild Marine Services teams meet to sign new pilot boat contract.
Pilots are skilled navigators who sail out to meet larger vessels in the approaches to ports or estuaries, using their specialist knowledge of the environment and infrastructure to guide them in to their moorings.
ABP and Goodchild have had a long history of productive collaboration.
In July 2019 it delivered its second pilot boat to ABP, Kingfisher, which has been supporting operations at Lowestoft. This followed the delivery of their first pilot boat for ABP, Osprey, more than 25 years ago.