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Dispute over jobs

Alba claims Clyde dry dock plan is setback for area

Inchgreen dry dock

Inchgreen: Alba says it will become a ‘scrap yard’

A deal to turn Scotland’s largest dry dock into a decommissioning facility has been described by Alba Party politicians as a setback, rather than a boost for jobs.

The party said that a deal agreed by Peel Ports – which owns much of the industrial Clyde Waterfront – to lease Inchgreen dry dock to North-East of England based ATLAS Decommissioning will see it turned into the country’s “largest scrap yard”.

ATLAS says 100 jobs will be created at an export hub for recyclable metals and that a waste management licence has been granted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Mike Wood, project director at ATLAS Decommissioning, said: “What we are doing here is essentially shipbuilding in reverse and requires much of the same engineering excellence and expertise.”

Peel Ports director Jim McSporran said: “Inverclyde’s economic woes are well-documented, with Office of National Statistics records showing an overall unemployment rate of 5.2%. We have promised to bring jobs to Inverclyde, and this is just the start.”

Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee hailed the contract as “excellent news for the Inchgreen Dry Dock, for Inverclyde and for Scotland.”

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Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, added: “This is a terrific shot in the arm for the Inverclyde economy that will deliver almost 100 new, skilled jobs to the area and breathe new life into a key asset which is of local and national significance.”

But Alba says it will put hundreds of jobs at risk and block futures plans to expand operations at neighbouring Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow which they say has the potential to create thousands of direct and supply chain jobs in the Inverclyde area. 

Completed in the 1960s, the Inchgreen dry dock in its heyday hosted some of the world’s largest liners and ships, supporting thousands of jobs over the years.

For decades it has been dormant with local campaigners saying that Peel Group have failed to do enough to bring it back into life as a major maritime asset.

Last year the Clyde lost out on a £29 million CalMac repair contract which now results in Clyde and Hebrides Ferries sailing to Liverpool for repair, instead of Greenock. 

Commenting Alba group leader on Inverclyde Council, Councillor Jim McEleny said: “Although a promise of one hundred jobs is on the surface welcome, this decision will prevent the growth of thousands of jobs we could’ve created.

“This is bad news for the Scottish maritime and shipbuilding sector and it further highlights a complete lack of strategy for the future of Shipbuilding on the lower Clyde.”



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