Port terminal operators SCH have diversified further by taking over the management and operation of Pre-Delivery Inspection and modification centres preparing BMW vehicles and imported motor cycles for the UK market.

SCH, which carries out stevedoring and other port related operations in locations including Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth and Sheerness, will operate the BMW technical preparation centres in Southampton, Oxford and Sywell, near Northampton, which is a new centre dealing exclusively with motor cycles.

The contract has been awarded for a period of four years, with an option for a further three years.

SCH has recruited around 30 personnel for the operation at Sywell which will involve work to prepare some 10,000 motorcycles sold into the UK market every year. The machines, spanning the full BMW range, are imported from Germany and are stored, inspected and fitted with accessories at Sywell.

The Sywell facility, around 75,000 square feet, replaces the process previously carried out for motorcycles at the BMW Thorne centre near Doncaster. It is a secure, refurbished building with the option to expand as required and includes purpose-installed storage racking and work bays.

SCH has also taken over the operation of preparation centres at Oxford and Southampton that handle more than 50,000 BMW vehicles year, fitting accessories and modification ready for the vehicles to enter the UK market.

Nearly 50 employees, including specialist technicians, have been transferred to SCH from the previous contractor with work content including PDI and modification work on BMWs built in Europe and the US and Minis built in the UK.

SCH already handles BMW Mini cars at Oxford, loading vehicles on trains for export ports Southampton and Purfleet, where the company is also responsible for discharging the cars from trains. Part of the new contract with BMW includes an increased responsibility for movement of Minis at the Oxford manufacturing plant.

SCH Director Ian Morrison commented: “The award of this work enhances the current relationship we have with BMW and is an important new addition to the SCH portfolio. Our automotive services business has grown considerably over the last two years and we are keen to continue this development and increase our influence within the sector.”


SCH sister company Viper Maritime Security (VMS) moved straight into the champions league when it was selected to provide security for the cruise vessel CMV Magellan, which had been chartered as a floating hotel berthed in Newport for visitors to the UCL Cup final in nearby Cardiff.

VMS provided 12  round-the-clock security guards over four days as the docking area at Newport’s South Dock was transformed into an events and activity space managed by French company Hopscotch Groupe on behalf of Nissan.

The fledgling company demonstrated its capabilities by providing security around a quayside entertainment Dome, the event staff office, the quayside  and at pre and post-match functions

VMS fielded SIA accredited staff drawn from the South Coast and the West Country as they provided an effective but low-key security operation to ensure that the 500 guests enjoyed the occasion to the full. The quayside events operation was co-organized by Hopscotch.

VMS Director Kevin Hulme explained: “Our task was to be professional but melt into the background. It was a prestigious job for VMS which is still in its infancy but we demonstrated that we can take on high profile work and we’re hopeful the successful job at Newport will lead to other opportunities.”

The VMS business, which carries out port based work and other allocations, is already taking off with an increased number of security personnel now being recruited, either SIA accredited or being trained.


Cruise Operations

Port terminal operators SCH and sister company Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS) have completed a record weekend of cruise operations in Southampton with involvement in 13 operations over three days.

Stevedores SCH and valet cruise parking specialists CPS, supported by their in-house staff agency Pathfinder Personnel, had more 600 staff deployments over the period as they conducted operations involving tens of thousands of passengers.

SCH were involved in mooring, baggage handling and stores loading on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Celebrity Cruises ships over the three days, while CPS carried out a range of reception, marshalling and car parking work during calls by P&O, Princess Cruises and Cunard ships.

Two days out of three saw SCH working three ships simultaneously, while the other day saw CPS conducting a similar operation.

Biggest operations were on the Royal Caribbean ships, Navigator of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, where SCH handled the disembark and embark of some 15,000 passengers, with the ships then subsequently sailing for Scandinavia and the Mediterranean respectively. There were also two calls by the smaller Silversea Cruise ships Silver Explorer and Silver Whisper.

SCH Cruise Operations Manager Glen Gardner explained: “Through SCH and CPS, we supported the handling of 13 of the 18 cruise ship calls in Southampton over the three-day period. It was a record volume for us and demonstrated the growth in our cruise ship activity besides showing the versatility of the group in providing different types of cruise ship support.”

Following the departure of Silversea Cruises’ luxury Silver Explorer from Southampton on Saturday, she sailed for Portsmouth where SCH sister company Southern Maritime Services (SMS), handled the embark of passengers. A few days later,  Silver Whisper was handled in Liverpool and CPS underlined the company’s network of port operations by servicing passengers on the Noble Caledonia Cruises’ vessel Serenissima in the Scottish port of Oban.