Shipyard Contracts Manager vs Project Manager

22 May 2023

Shipyard Contracts Manager vs Project Manager

This blog title may sound like Contracts and Project Managers are pitted against each other in the shipyard but in fact, we want to highlight the difference between the two roles. They both work very closely alongside one another but have responsibility for different aspects of a shipbuilding project and we support them as individuals with different needs.

Before we get into the differences, let’s talk about what they have in common. Both individuals are charged with ensuring the success of a shipbuilding project where demand workflow goes up and down. The labour they get on site must be appropriate to that stage of the project, and they must be able to meet the natural peaks and troughs that go together with shipbuilding.

Costs are cut down by having a labour system that can accommodate the change in the flow of people needed onsite at any one time.

How we support Contract Managers.

These individuals are key players, both in the bidding and tender stage of a shipbuilding project through to its execution. As the job title suggests, part of their responsibility is to ensure contracts are fulfilled and conceive how each deliverable will be met. Because this element of shipbuilding exists in a written form, a Contract Manager needs suppliers and partners that will enable them to fulfil each element and report to shareholders. One side of this is, of course, securing the right labour to aid this process.

We know that for the Contract Managers we work with, reliability and confidence are key to their success.


Having a supply of skilled trades at precisely the right time is something the SLR team get a handle on at the start of the project. We work together from the outset so that we are ahead of the game in terms of understanding what trades will be needed and when.

How we support Project Managers

Whilst a Project Manager in the shipyard carries out a different function to the Contract Manager, once again, there are a series of key milestones and goals that they must hit for the project to succeed. As well as working with a Contract Manager, the shipbuilding Project Manager will also liaise with Production Managers and Operations Directors. The chief concern is to manage project costs and if skilled labour cannot be deployed on-site at critical points of the project, this jeopardises costs and budget. It is here where our skills and experience in the shipbuilding sector come into play. A vast network of skilled candidates and a team that completely understands the nature of the shipbuilding sector means we can support Project Managers to stay on budget.

Key ingredients that build trust

  • Communication
  • Experience
  • Delivery
  • Support
  • Reputation

We have testimonials on our website that show how we help but really it boils down to this:

SLR call or email when we say we will, and we are transparent in what we can deliver and by what date. Over time this builds trust and leads to a strong partnership built on the supply of key skilled labour and promises kept.