Steelwork is on a 4,000 mile journey from Dorset in the UK to the Caribbean for the reconstruction of a primary school, devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.
Christchurch-based John Reid & Sons Ltd (REIDsteel) is leading a consortium of businesses in the UK which have joined forces to help rebuild the Enis Adams Primary School in the British Virgin Islands.
The company, which has exported to the Caribbean for more than 30 years, has rallied its suppliers to provide support free of charge, in kind or at a discounted rate to the total value of £35,000.
Suppliers involved in the project include Kestrel Liner Agencies and Meachers Global Logistics.
Virgin Islands businessman Peter Haycraft, who was a longstanding client of REIDsteel with his former business Road Town Wholesale, has pledged $1m of his own money for the school reconstruction to help the local community.
REIDsteel – whose specialities include disaster-resistant buildings – designed and manufactured the steelwork to withstand any future hurricanes and to give something back to the islands.
Now seven 40ft cargo containers full of steel work are being shipped across the Atlantic for the project on the island of Tortola.
REIDsteel commercial director Tim Cook said: “We have built strong personal and professional relationships over many years in the Caribbean.
“It was terrible to see the damage wreaked by the hurricanes last year so we’re very grateful to Peter Haycraft for giving us the opportunity to help him give something back to Tortola.
“Our thanks to our suppliers and business associates who rallied around immediately. It is great to see the first shipment depart and we’re looking forward to the school rising from the ashes.”
The school is due to open in September 2019.
Kestrel Liner Agencies, a global Caribbean shipping specialist which offers weekly sailings from more than 145 ports to the Caribbean basin, is helping with shipment and Meachers Global Logistics with shipping services.
Andy Thorne, Kestrel group chairman, said: “In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria we were able to get people on the ground and provide specialist logistical and financial support to the region.
“A year on we are delighted to team up with our customers and partners to help rebuild the school. Our mission statement says it all, ‘Global reach – local focus’.”
The other UK suppliers involved are Tata Steel, National Tube Stockholders, Joseph Ash Galvanising, Euroclad, Ayrshire Metal Products, BAPP and Powell Gee & Co Ltd.
Main contractor in Tortola, Newton Construction Co Ltd, with whom REIDsteel has worked for 34 years, is leading the construction work and will erect the steelwork.
Others involved in the project in Tortola are architect AEMC Architectural Services, Civil Engineer AEC Consulting Engineers Ltd, Electrical Barry’s Electrical Services, Reliable Plumbing, S & D Security, and the British Virgin Islands Ministry of Education and Culture.
REIDsteel has the capacity to design, manufacture and supply entire steel buildings – including their cladding and glazing – anywhere in the UK, Europe and across the World. It has exported to more than 140 countries to date.
Visit www.reidsteel.com for more details.