Robert Allan Ltd. Celebrates 90 Years in Business

escort tug ajax ostenjo rederi
Ajax: 41.6m., 7600 kW VSP Escort Tug for Østensjø Rederi of Norway; in 2000, first vessel to incorporate the unique RAstar hull form

Published Jul 21, 2020 8:26 PM by Robert G. Allan, P.Eng.

In business, as in life, after major anniversary milestones like 60 (Diamond) and 75 (Diamond or Sapphire), it seems that every year after that is worth celebrating. However, 90 years is somewhat in the nether regions of celebrations; certainly, a major achievement after say 75, but not quite the centenary either! However, Robert Allan Ltd. has been an active and growing business now for 90 years, and we believe that is worth celebrating in a time when it feels, frankly, that there is not a great deal to celebrate.

The family lore has always been that my grandfather, Robert Allan, started his independent career as a consulting naval architect in 1930. However, recent research has actually shown that he was advertising as an independent consultant in April 1929. So, we are actually celebrating the completion of 90 years of business, and that just a little late.

Three generations of family ownership - succeeded now by 12 years of employee ownership and management - has firmly established the company as a major force in the worldwide industry of ship design consultancy. Although best known for the extensive work done in the world of high-performance tugboats, the company continues to be actively involved in many diverse design projects, including research vessels, fireboats, barges, crew boats, wind farm vessels and shallow-draft push boats and barges.

The current workforce of about 90 persons at Robert Allan Ltd is truly diverse: a microcosm of the Canadian mosaic, with staff originating from about 30 countries and speaking over 21 languages. There is a high percentage of women in both our technical and administrative departments. This team is our greatest asset, highly skilled and highly motivated to do the best work possible for our international clients. It is notable how well this diverse group works together, often under significant time pressure.

In recent months under the COVID-19 restrictions, the company has continued to work extremely effectively with the majority of staff operating from home offices, and all project delivery deadlines have been met.

As the company continues to grow and prosper while adapting to the changing conditions around us, we look forward in anticipation of a centenary celebration in the none-too-distant future. For now, however, 90 years of continuous business is a significant accomplishment for a small private company, and we raise a suitably distanced glass to all our faithful clients who have made this milestone possible!

Robert G. (Rob) Allan is the Executive Chairman of Robert Allan Ltd.

M.Y. Fifer, 1939 – 105’ Ocean-going luxury yacht built for Capt. Wm. Crawford. Seized by Canadian Navy at the outbreak of WWII for coastal patrol duty.

RAven series fast patrol catamarans; Nadon et al. Designed as fast coastal patrol craft for the RCMP. Nadon was re-christened as St. Roch II and circumnavigated North America in 2000 to commemorate the historic voyage of her namesake.

In 2012 Robert Allan Ltd. was granted the exclusive rights to design the unique triple Z-drive Rotor Tugs for the international market

This article is sponsored by Robert Allan Ltd.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.