Big catch for Chamber International as it helps export innovative £1m fisheries harvest plant to Chile

A £1m innovative salmon harvesting plant that operates on board a vessel has been exported from the Shetland Islands to Chile with support from overseas trade specialist, Chamber International.

The self-contained deck-mounted harvest plant, designed and manufactured by aqua-service company, Aquaship Ltd, Lerwick, has been exported to Puerto Montt, capital of Chile’s Los Lagos region, through Antwerp in Chamber International’s most northerly UK contract.

The harvest plant was exported to Gripship SPA Chile, Puerto Varas, an Aquaship business, for use on 1800m3 wellboat, Grip Pacific, which is on long-term charter to fish farming company, Blumar Seafood, that supplies Atlantic and Coho salmon to the US, Brazil, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

A major innovation of the Aquaship equipment is that it enables a conventional wellboat to be turned into a ‘utility wellboat’ so fish can be harvested at the quayside as opposed to the cage side. All existing fisheries technology relies on a slower, less efficient, system of transporting live fish onto an on-shore harvesting plant adjoining a primary processing factory or a harvesting at the cage-side using a separate vessel.

Aquaship serves the world’s largest salmon farmers on long-term contracts and operates vessels within all four major maritime aqua-service sectors of live-fish-carriers, harvest vessels, service vessels and fish feed carriers.

The company, which has bases in Norway, UK, Canada and Chile, has 33 operating vessels, 375 staff and Euro 60m turnover. Aquaship UK, created in 2018 in a merger between GripShip AS, and Johnson Marine Ltd, Shetland Islands, has 110 staff and a £17.5m annual turnover.

Chamber International applied the origin rules set out in the UK–Chile Free Trade Agreement before the Aquaship salmon harvesting plant sailed to determine the duty status of the vessel and the documentation needed for customs clearance.

Aquaship general manager, Alan Bourhill, says: “We are a growing business working in a dynamic sector of the UK economy. Gripship and Blumar chose us for this project because of our knowledge and experience of producing vessel-based harvest systems.

“We approached Chamber International for support as we are principally a service company with limited experience in exporting manufactured goods and wanted to get the process right because avoiding delays, or bureaucratic errors, was crucial as we are chartering vessels to move the equipment with high costs.

“Chamber International provided an excellent, efficient service providing the peace of mind we wanted.”

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “This enquiry is a good example of how UK businesses can overcome tariff barriers and be more competitive by utilising trade agreements. Aquaship saved its customer more than £60,000 in import duties through Chamber International checking the rules.”

Chamber International, which has offices in Bradford and London and is the international division of West & North Yorkshire Chamber, helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters throughout the UK with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective.

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