BAE Systems has notified employees in Florida and Virginia of pending layoffs, according to media reports this week.

The company will lay off up to 300 employees at two shipyards in Jacksonville, Fla., and approximately 530 at the yard in Norfolk, Va., on or about March 18.

The Jacksonville layoffs represent almost half of the company’s approximately 700-person staff in that location, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville.comreported Tuesday. The scale of the layoffs is similar in Norfolk, which employs approximately 1,075 people.

The company attributes the layoffs to reduced demand for commercial shipbuilding and repair, and changes to the U.S. Navy’s maintenance plans and where ships are stationed.

“We expect the workload will eventually recover,” BAE Systems spokesman Karl Johnson told “Navy ships need repair, commercial ships do, too. But the layoffs are permanent because we have to base that on the work that we have under contract now.”

One of BAE Systems’ facilities in Jacksonville deals primarily with commercial work, including platform supply vessels, while the other is devoted strictly to naval vessels. The yard in Norfolk works only on Navy ships.

BAE Systems’ yards also saw a round of layoffs in late 2015. BAE Systems Southeast Shipyard in Jacksonville recently completed the fourth of four 252′ OSVs for Jackson Offshore Operators. The vessels are under charter to BP America in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Workboat