THE owners of Inchgreen dry dock say they have more work in the pipeline once their new Ocean Terminal cruise ship pontoon is finished.

Peel Ports say the facility has a bright future, with a 'steady pipeline of activity lined up' for the months ahead.

Pressure group campaigners have strongly criticised the company's stewardship of the key industrial asset and called on the government to step in and take it over to bring jobs to the town.

But bosses insist it is entering a busy new era.

Andrew Hemphill, ports director, Peel Ports Clydeport, said: “We have a specific long-term plan for Inchgreen and there has been plenty of interest in the facility for future projects.

“Fabrication of the cruise ship pontoon has obviously been an important project for Inchgreen and we are delighted to see it nearing completion.

"It is however just one of many projects coming on board for Inchgreen, which is an extremely versatile facility.

“The dry dock is multi-purpose and can be used for civil construction, ship building or repair and decommissioning of ships, which is a growing market and offers a real opportunity for future work.

“Inchgreen is a facility that means a lot to the local area and we are confident that the fabrication of the cruise berth pontoon is just the beginning.”

The 200m long and 8m wide pontoon, being constructed using 900 tonnes of concrete and 320 tonnes of steel, will take up two-thirds of the length of the dry dock, which is the biggest in the UK.

Civil engineers Roadbridge UK, the company contracted by Peel Ports Group to build the cruise berth as part of Inverclyde Council city deal project, has a 40-strong team working at the facility and revealed recently that the project is due for completion soon.

In addition to the pontoon construction, bosses point to recent activity with Inchgreen acting as a support hub to provide services for the marine industry, with ships and barges using the 300m repair quayside and large area adjacent to the quayside.

Four new large mobile cranes have also been used on site, providing greater lifting capacity than their predecessors - which were blown up despite protests from activists.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan and his SNP colleague Ronnie Cowan MP were invited by Peel to Inchgreen to see the projects under way there.

Mr McMillan said: “It was incredibly encouraging to see the level of activity underway at Inchgreen.

"The £19m development at Greenock Ocean Terminal will bring significant benefits to the local economy and there appears to be plenty of future activity in the pipeline.”

Mr Cowan added: "The Ocean Terminal development will clearly be a massive boost for the area and the fact that there are future projects in the pipeline is very good news.”

The cruise berth being built at the drydock is part of a £19m development for the terminal downriver, and also includes a visitor centre, aimed at growing the town’s cruise industry to 150,000 passengers per annum and delivering £26 million in annual visitor and crew spend to the Scottish economy.

The Glasgow City Deal has approved a contribution of £9.6m, funded equally by the Scottish and UK governments.

The balance of the marine and landside works will be paid for by Greenock Ocean Terminal operator Peel Ports, who are putting up £8m, and the George Wyllie Foundation, via arts funder the Dunard Trust, contributing £1.5m.


INCHING AHEAD Cathal Doherty, Roadbridge, Stuart McMillan MSP, Ronnie Cowan MP and Douglas Coleman, Peel Ports.