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Southampton: SMS moves closer to core customer base

By Dan Teuton
7 September 2020

The SMS Group is relocating its Southampton headquarters as part of a long-term plan to ensure its sustainability and commercial longevity.

It will become the only ship repairer based within the Port of Southampton when it moves to Western Avenue, within ABP Southampton’s footprint, adjacent to the King George V drydock.

The move represents a strategic decision to move the business closer to its core customer base and improve its location.

The SMS Group has built a reputation as a specialist in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the commercial marine, defence, cruise and superyachts sectors.

SMS Southampton is headed up by joint general managers Ben Rowe and Dave Chaffers.

Rowe said: “Since our acquisition of 2017 we deliberately made the decision to retain the Western Avenue site within our estates portfolio to ensure that when the time came we were best placed to capitalise on the benefits of this historically proven footprint.

“The site is great, the location perfect and the move long overdue.”

Chaffers said: “We’ve taken this decision now due to three very credible reasons.

“One, the time is right, as a group, and as a business unit, we’re trading profitably and ahead of budget.

“Two, the site is perfect. It’s within the port, adjacent to a main transit route, easily accessed from the M271 and is close to all the ports agents.

“The site is historically proven to be good home for ship repairers. It makes up part of our estates portfolio and the location is second-to-none. It really is ideal.

“Three, it coincides nicely with the planned ‘change of purpose’ at Ocean Quay.

“They’ll be undertaking further works of non-marine restoration which is contrary the modern profile of SMS and that of our customers’ requirements.”

The SMS Group will be investing in both the fabrication workshop and a new mechanical workshop.

The site will benefit from new signage and further investment in the offices.

The location will also improve the company’s quayside presence, and its mobility with the city’s port infrastructure.

The new trading address will be: The SMS Group, Western Avenue, Western Docks, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 0HH.  All telephone numbers will remain unchanged.

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