World Famous Marine Company Starts Manufacturing in Fiji

Bellingham Marine is a world respected company, with a long history of innovative manufacturing of marina pontoons and highly respected design developments. It was started in Bellingham. Washington State in
05 Aug 2017 11:20
World Famous Marine Company Starts Manufacturing in Fiji

Bellingham Marine is a world respected company, with a long history of innovative manufacturing of marina pontoons and highly respected design developments. It was started in Bellingham.

Washington State in the USA over fifty years ago and from that it has continued to develop and grow all the time creating new concepts in marina design and in the construction of concrete pontoons to the point where it is now regarded as the world leader in the market segment.

Bellingham started out with a vision to design and build the ultimate facility for their client’s marina business and have remained faithful to that promise over the intervening half century.

They have ensured that both the design and engineering and the physical construction of the concrete pontoons is constantly researched and improved so that today they are considered the benchmark in the industry.


Switch from steel bolts to fibre glass nuts

The latest development that will be introduced shortly by Bellingham is to switch from steel bolts, which create an opportunity for rust intrusion and possible structure failure to fibre glass nuts and bolts which they have developed with a composite specialist.

Bellingham is also committed to ensuring that their marina products preserve the environment and save energy for the benefit of everyone.

They have also supported marine biology studies that helped them to understand how a marina installation affects aquatic life and harbour ecology.

Two marinas in the USA have partnered with Bellingham to pioneer new technologies to produce a “green marina”.

Most Bellingham manufacturing facilities are ISO or PCI certified and all are required to work to existing Bellingham standards worldwide.


The Pontoons

Their concrete pontoons are a masterpiece in both the aesthetic design and construction areas.

The pontoons are built around a polyurethane block the design of which has features that allow the inclusion of service conduits such as electricity, water, sewerage and fuel reticulation to client specifications.

Where a series of pontoons are to be connected to provide fast connection adapters are available to extend the services through the marina.

Each marina installation is designed individually to best perform and provided the levels of service and security the marina owner requires.

The pontoons are available in a variety of sizes and are constructed in a special facility and transported to the final site.

While they are constructed around a relatively lightweight block, called a core in the industry, they are covered on all sides with special concrete and steel reinforcing to ensure that they will be able to stand the sort of loads they are called on to handle in the marina environment.

Typically a pontoon is 2.4 metres wide and 5.5 metres long and a little under a metre thick.

This means that each pontoon is reasonably heavy and awkward to handle.

Bellingham transports the pontoons from their manufacturing facilities to locations worldwide but it’s better that they are constructed as close as possible to the placement site to reduce transport costs and maintain the lowest possible price.

For this reason, as they grew their business, Bellingham expanded their manufacturing capability geographically but ensured at all times that each facility was equal to the standard of all the other locations.

The company has extensive training programmes at all levels and they are careful to ensure that all employees are totally aware of the processes and the company standards so that they can guarantee every client.

No matter where they are in the world that the product delivered to them will conform to the stringent standards they have developed.


Pontoons for Fiji are manufactured in New Zealand.

There are a number of marinas in Fiji that use the Bellingham pontoons and up to now these have been manufactured in New Zealand and shipped to Fiji for placement on the site.

Port Denarau is one of the Bellingham sites in Fiji and there are other smaller marinas as well as a number of single pontoon installations for private use. In every case the company provides support in fulfilling local requirements for approvals and requirements.

Because the South Pacific presents a very large opportunity for marina and pontoon placement and because changes in the market on duty, taxation and incentives over the last five years offered a way of reducing the cost of manufacture the company was looking for a way to make Fiji a manufacturing base.

Bruce Birtwhistle, the regional manager based in Auckland, was passionate in achieving the objective of establishing the manufacturing facility in Fiji. New Zealand had for many years supplied Bellingham pontoons out of New Zealand but Bruce realised the many advantages for the South Pacific market in constructing product within the region.


Bellingham Pontoons now manufactured at Fantasy Island.

Local manufacturers can enjoy very real advantages in terms of end price under the Melanesian Spearhead Group arrangements. Fiji is also offering a low duty of only five percent on components imported and used in manufacture.  Because of the high local cost for the polyurethane cores which are the basis of the pontoon manufacturing process the company is also considering  building their own plant

Just recently two of the country’s best know marine service operators, Hall Dredging and Bob Oldham formed a Joint Venture called Marine Structures and Consultancy (Fiji) Limited.

Bob Oldham had worked on many Bellingham projects in Fiji and had an excellent relationship with the NZ Bellingham group so the new JV entered into an agreement to operate under license to manufacture Bellingham pontoons .

Hall Dredging already had a large land base in the new Port Fantasy Marina, where all Hall Fiji land services are centred and this is where the Bellingham manufacturing plant is situated. In the last week of July the first Bellingham pontoons were manufactured there in the presence of New Zealand management, who gave the Fiji pontoons their stamp of approval.

Marine Structures are certain that the availability of both Bellingham pontoons and the service and advice availably more easily within the region will provide huge marketing opportunities.

And the new plant will significantly reduce the capital outflow, and making a strong contribution to the Fiji economy,

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