North-West Evening Mail
Wed 26 Sep 2007

Jobs hope as Fisher booms

MORE jobs were predicted for South Cumbria today by the expanding marine services and shipping group James Fisher and Sons.

The company revealed its national and overseas workforce has grown to more than 1,000 permanent workers, plus a number of seasonal and contract staff.

Of that around 200 are in Cumbria, including 120 at James Fisher House headquarters in Michaelson Road, Barrow, and others in Dalton and Egremont.

Numbers in the county are likely to grow, including graduates now being recruited from Lancaster University, said chairman Tim Harris today.

Fisher announced revenue is up by 55 per cent for the six months to June, from £57m last year to £88.5m this year, due in part to new companies it has bought.

Profits before tax rose by £1.1m, or 13 per cent, to £9.5m.

Mr Harris said: “James Fisher now employs more than a thousand people, principally in the UK and Norway with a few, but increasing number, in the Middle East and Far East.

“It is committed to its head-quarters in Barrow which it intends to develop until it is recognised as one of the key centres of ship management excellence in the UK.”

He added: “The location has advantages in terms of stability and competitive cost, but it is sometimes a challenge to persuade people from the south to move there, although when they do they seldom leave.”

Mr Harris said today that one problem in getting people to move to Barrow — for instance when it took over the rival Everard petrol tankship fleet based at Dartford — was worries about house price differences.

He said: “People are worried if they get out of the housing market in the south they may never get back in. But when they move to Barrow the quality of life is very good and they like it.”

A handful of people from the old Everard ship management centre at Dartford, in Kent, moved to Barrow, but others declined.

James Fisher operates more than 30 ships, but the main company growth is in specialist technical and engineering services for offshore industries and the nuclear and defence industries.

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