Foyle and Marine Dredging bucks the Covid trend, thanks to Tefra hitches

Months of Covid lockdown has not deterred Foyle and Marine Dredging from realising one of its busiest years ever, thanks in part to Hill Engineering attachments.

Turnover is up 10% in the specialist contractor’s 13th year in business … and 10th year of using Hill’s fully automatic Tefra quick hitch couplers, particularly for the rock armour and dredging elements of its roster of services.

In that time, Foyle’s has used Tefra hitches on dozens of projects, most recently for a rock armour project for Heron Bros in Helensburgh, Scotland, which was due to complete in December (2020) after two months.

The Tefra quick hitch, which is the safest coupler on the market due to a positive locking system, was also used on another recent rock armour project, this time for Graham, in Dundee. Foyle’s started on this one in September and is due on site until March 2021.

Foyle’s most recent Hill attachment acquisition was for a Hitachi ZX490 long-reach excavator supplied by Hitachi dealer TBF Thompson. That brings its portfolio of Hill hitches to four, for the seven Hitachi excavators in its fleet.

Hill’s Tefra quick hitch is designed to complement excavators ranging in size from two to 120 tonnes, and at Foyle’s, it is used on a 120-tonne rated EX1200 which was used on a rock armour project, reckoned to be Northern Ireland’s biggest rock armour project at the time,

The repairs to the revetment and construction of a new 140m-long concrete toe beam at Portrush harbour’s north pier by civil engineers McLaughlin and Harvey required the placement of 11,500m3 of stones ranging in individual weight from 10 to 26 tonnes.

Foyle and Marine Dredging MD Stephen McCormick said: “Hill’s Tefra quick hitch coped extremely well, as they have on all our machines and all our projects. We have never had any issues whatsoever.”

He recalled that the first Hill hitch he acquired was for an EX1100 for dredging, which at the time was the only one in Ireland.

“We had had trouble sourcing a hitch. All the competitor products were very expensive. Then I came across Ian [Hill, Hill Engineering MD]. Their hitches are beautifully engineered but simple and robust, and considering all that, very competitively priced.

“They are also superbly flexible. We use them through all our sectors, not just for rock armour and dredging, but also marine outflows, beach reclamation, rock breaking and tug and work boat work.”

Foyle and Marine Dredging is a family business – Stephen’s wife Ciara is company secretary and brother Michael a machine operator. Headquartered in Moville, Co Donegal, it has two other sites – Letterkenny (also Co Donegal) and Derry in Northern Ireland.