The Goliath crane from Chinese manufacturer ZPMC was used to build the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and is now being sold.

The first time I visited the yard, it was explained that the government bought crane would be sold after the vessels were assembled so it doesn’t give the yard an “unfair advantage” over other UK shipyards.

Goliath has a lift capacity of 1,000 tonnes, the largest in Britain. The crane Goliath was brought to Rosyth from Shanghai in 2011 and was used for the assembly of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

The crane, which cost £12.2 million, was part of a £80 million investment at Rosyth to allow the assembly of the vessels.

The crane was built by Zhenhua in China, and shipped to the UK partially assembled. After being delivered with the girder and upper sections of the legs assembled, the crane was fully erected on the deck of the ship on which it was transported from Shanghai, before being transferred complete onto its rails.

The delivery vessel had to be ballasted considerably in order to ensure a 2 metres (6ft 7in) clearance under the Forth Bridges.

It stands 68 metres to the underside of the main beams, with a span of 120 metres.

In 2016, it was announced by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance that the Goliath was to be sold and now the process of finding a buyer has now started.

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Wow don’t these guys think that they might actually need it at some point in the future to build some more big ships, such as the future supply ships for the RFA. Clearly a lack of foresight.


This surprises you?

Stephen G.

More like deliberate warfare against Britain’s industry. They know full well this would be invaluable to British shipbuilding, that is why they are deliberately getting rid of it. They want to keep British shipbuilding tiny and un-competitive.


Take it you didn’t read the article




You would not want to keep national infrastructure if you can sell it for a few quid, typical right wing (sorry can’t help myself after all the left wing abuse).

David Stephen

The crane is the property of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and they have decided to sell it not the UK government.


I would suggest that it is a state asset since the cost would have been included in the bill for the 2 aircraft carriers.


Its a commercial decision whether the yard buys the crane, they are more the capable of bidding for it.
Maritime cranes are bought and sold and reconstructed all the time. No dramas.

Eric Paice

The shipyard could purchase it if they wished.


I’m not an expert on shipbuilding but could this crane be used for any other ship other than the carrier?

If it’s a yes then I just don’t get it, money should be invested in things like this. If it gives the “yard an unfair advantage over other shipyards” then buy big cranes for our other shipyards then! Invest in the shipbuilding industry.

How many millions have we just wasted on that garden bridge in London that’s been cancelled.


My gut reaction was that this is madness but I presume that the yard had the option to buy it outright but it probably has minimal use for ships other than those of this size and thus as there won’t be ships of this size built one presumes for at least 30 to 40 years (if ever) that it will become predominantly a white elephant. Well I hope thats the answer because anything else would explain why everything in terms of infrastructure becomes ridiculously expensive in this country to keep committees in employment deciding how best to introduce short term-ism… Read more »

Stephen G.

This will be invaluable for the 3 solid support ships. After we have built those we will have the facilities and experience to bid for cruise ships like France, Germany and Italy do. If the government wasn’t waging war against Britain’s industry, which it is.

James Harrington

What! Who made this decision? Another sell off of important national assets.


There are two perfectly good cranes sitting in Belfast that have done next to nothing over the last 6 years. I wonder why they didnt just purchase one and ship it across the channel. Or better yet invest half the amount required for Rosyth and complete the construction in the largest dry dock in the western hemesphere.


great point, well presented.

I hope the Belfast yards get some work in the future as well as cammel laird.

Tim Farrow

Whilst I can understand that there will probably not be any further need for a crane of this capacity at Rosyth , can I widen the discussion a little and ask if anyone knows what facilities there are available in the UK for the Carriers future refits/dockings when the time comes ?

Stephen G.

There will be a need, the 3 solid support ships, then after that bid for cruise ships like other European countries do. They are deliberately making sure we won’t be able to build them ahead of time. They have waged war against British industry for decades and they are still doing it to this day.

Mike Saul

The UK has no shipbuilding future.

The infrastructure created to build the carriers was not an investment for the future, it was a short term political decision taken by the then government.

Mr Bell

Sad decision. Like most other commentators on this site I view this crane as an important part of National infrastructure.
No one has a crystal ball or can see the future. If this sale goes through you can kiss building another QE carrier or other large naval vessel goodbye on Rosyth.
Projects the yard could contribute towards (or at least be used for final assembly) future MARS ships x4 for RFA. A LPH replacement for Ocean (ideally x2 ships).


Couldn’t see France or Italy selling off such an asset. Government bending over backwards to give advantage to other nations.

Mike Saul

France’s biggest shipyard at St Nazaire has just had to be nationalised because it was bankrupt.


Italy’s largest shipyard is state owned and the 4th largest in the world, makes millions every year.

The French one will probably only approve now being state owned with more investment from the French Government.




30 hour week they work? Wonder if those Russian helicopter carriers are still there.

Stephen G.

Deliberate and organized war being waged against Britain’s heavy industries which has been going on for decades, and is still taking place to this day. No other major European country is waging war against its heavy industries. It is sick.

Nikolai Bird

Selling it is fine. The shipyard can buy it if they want it. I just wish it was built in the uk to start with.

Mike Saul

Fincantieri, Europe’s largest shipbuilder and partly owned by the Italian government, recorded a EUR289 million full year loss it last year.

Recent half year result show a small profit of EUR5 million.

Cashflow is negative and the company pays little tax.

Plenty of orders, just that ships are being built a loss. Grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence when look at the facts rather than the propoganda.


2015 is not last year, 2016 is last year, which it reported €16m profit, revenue increase to €4.2 billion, €24 billion backlog of 6 years work with 99 ships on order.

2014 saw a €55m profit.

2013 saw a €85m profit.

2012 saw a €15m profit.

2011 saw a €9m profit.

Suppose the grass is quite green when you look at the full facts, not a cherry picked year to suit the narrative.

scott malsbury

If its govt owned then they will always run at a loss. The govt only gives you more money if you spend the last lot..


Building ships at home means jobs and helps balance of payments. Also means possibilities of foreign orders. Surprised any business can survive with so much bureaucracy.


For those that have trouble understanding financial reporting dates.

Recorded on the 31 march 2016.


Yes for 2015! That report is for the business year of 2015! Reported and released in 2016.

That doesn’t mean it made a loss last year, it means it made a loss in 2015, and reported that loss in early 2016.

We are in 2017 Mike, this years report showed a profit of €16m for the business year of 2016.

So last year it made a profit. No ifs no buts, the facts are there.

Mike Saul

Do you understand the word “recorded” that I used in my post?

It would seem not.

I don’t mind helping people understanding the issues, but you have to have a basic understanding of the English language to move forwards.

Now move along, I have more interesting matters at hand.


Haha ? nice try to get out of it Mike now the penny has finally dropped.

Better luck next time ?


The crane is being sold to prevent Rosyth having an unfair advantage to other UK shipyards.

The Tories did not concern themselves with unfair advantage when they moved the Trident overhaul facility from Rosyth to Plymouth. Plymouth was a Tory seat, Rosyth was then, Labour. We can thank Lord Malcolm Rifkin for that deal.

This is asset stripping; with a vengence.


If the Government bought the crane, as stated in the article, and then sell it, it’s not asset stripping it’s the Government deciding they don’t have any more use for a 1000 tonne capacity crane. If they kept it the taxpayer would be paying maintenance and upkeep costs on a crane that’s not being used.
Presumably they’ve decided that as OCEAN, ALBION, and BULWARK were made without the benefit of said crane there’s no immediate call for it in the near to medium term. If BAE feel it would be useful in the future they could of course buy it.


Harland and wolf in Belfast is bigger

David Stephen

Right the crane belongs to the government then. Fine why would they keep it if they don’t need it at the present time. If they put it up for sale the yard can buy it if they want. It would help them build FSS or future LPDs so it is in their interest to do so. Hardly the government asset stripping. More like a short sighted decision from the yard. We are not exactly talking about a huge amount of cash returned to the exchequer here, probably £10-20 million. If the government do own the crane then they have to… Read more »

Richard Powell

Buy or sell the original purchase should have been from a UK provider not Chinese provider.

Stephen G.

If it is sold, hopefully it will be a another British shipyard (Tyneside or Merseyside?) so we can have at least 1 shipyard which is not tiny and unable to build large ships. It is no efficient or competitive to have tiny shipyards, each incapable of building large ships, hundreds of miles apart. We need at least 1 large large shipyard capable of building large ships on 1 site in Britain. If this means investment, do so, like Canada has done. A large enclosed dockhall would be ideal. Give them the 3 solid support ships, then when they are built… Read more »