The name Rix is long associated with Humber ports with origins traced to Hull businessman Captain Robert Rix in the early 1800s. The family firm was always on the lookout for up and coming ideas for trade. Lamp oil, packed in oak casks, was already being brought from Russia when in 1927 Robert Rix began importing vapourising oil for the new fangled tractors being seen on farms post WW1. Identifying new markets has served the company well over the years and it is now a name to be reckoned with in shipping, oil distribution, agricultural supply, haulage and retail in Humberside, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and increasingly in Scotland.
Shipping has always been at the heart of the company though the dry cargo trades fluctuate and Rix have not been shy to offload ships if they were not earning. Their large fleet pre WW2 was one of the first to include the new style Dutch motor coaster but by 1960 they had just two vessels. The dry cargo fleet increased once more with standard far eastern built used tonnage but it is now down to two once more, near sisters Ronrix 2,501,’77 blt Ulsan Korea and Salrix, 2,563,’77, blt Shimonoseki.
Currently these are principally on Baltic timber freights from Riga and Klaipeda to Hull. They have often returned with cargoes of large caravans for export, a characteristic Humberside manufacture, typical of Rix opportunism and versatility. Ronrix has had a series of voyages with part cargoes of timber offloaded at Great Yarmouth prior to completing at Hull. At Yarmouth due to her length in the busy River Yare and with the absence of a bow thrust she requires tugs to take her out.
But it is in bunkering oils and estuary traffics the Rix flag is more commonly seen these days and at their own shipyard, still known as Hepworths at Paull near Hull, their latest tanker the 1,800dwt Lerrix is taking shape to be completed early next year. So this little yard is fabricating one of the very few Merchant hulls taking shape in the UK.
The plates come ready cut from Holland to be assembled at Paull. The versatile yard delivered the Rix Merlin 750,’05 and rebuilt two Yorkshire DD dry cargo hulls, Rix Harrier 1,046,’79 ex Breydon Enterprise ex Wib and Rix Hawk 1,147,’77 ex Breydon Trader ex Wis. The Merlin is now working in the Solent. Their largest vessel is a Turkish newbuild from ’08, Lizrix of 1,942dwt with a busy strategic bunker station at Falmouth.
Also on the Humber with some inland waterway traffics are the estuary and inland waterway barges Rix Eagle 500,’90, Rix Owl 500,’03, Rix Kestrel ’57, Rix Osprey 300,’59 (ex Beldale H) and Rix Phoenix. 500gt rebuilt from Burtondale H, the last two being from Harker’s inland yard at Knottingley.
I am not sure all these barges are currently active but it is a pleasure to write about a company of such historic pedigree still hard at work in the cut throat maritime trades, and prepared to invest in shipbuilding and repair.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - December 2011 Issue
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