THE new Clydeport director says Greenock's Inchgreen drydock is on the brink of a major transformation that could deliver hundreds of high-quality jobs.

The Telegraph recently reported how moves to revitalise the facility were stepping up a gear after council chiefs clinched over £1.3m in funding to renovate the large shed at the site.

Regeneration bosses and dock owners Peel plan to lure inward investors to the key industrial site - and top port official Jim McSporran says the start of work has triggered a huge surge of interest from companies keen to bring boat-building work here.

He has revealed that the shed revamp will signal the beginning of an 'aggressive' programme to turn Inchgreen into a modern, workable site.

Work on the shed is ready to start and the stated aim is to finish it 'by the end of March' while funds have also been secured to improve the quay wall and dredge the harbour to allow boats to come alongside again.

Mr McSporran says this has triggered a 'tsunami of enquiries', with the potential of several hundred new jobs coming to Inverclyde.

He said: “We’re looking at projects where we could be building boats at Inchgreen, proper boats.

“It’s clear there isn’t much activity on the Clyde nowadays apart from naval vessels, but we are just about to kick off a programme of extensive works at Inchgreen.

"It hasn’t had much positive publicity in recent years owing to a perception of inactivity, but we are set to invest £1.4 million refurbishing our boat shed.

"It’s an iconic building but not currently in the best condition.

"I recognised that and decided that if we wanted to bring back boat building and shipbuilding to the facility we had to improve the asset, so with Inverclyde Council we secured money to restore it to a new condition.

“The offshoot of that programme will be that there will be a new demand for skilled labour in the area, involving many skills that many people assumed had been lost.”

Inchgreen has a rich heritage but has lain largely dormant for many years.

Its landmark cranes were blown up in a controlled demolition in 2017, with Peel subsequently put under pressure by campaigners and local politicians to bring the site back to life.

It is one of the largest operational drydocks in Europe, with berthage and direct access to the deep-water channel in the Firth of Clyde.

The 32-acre site has been identified in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan and is one of the area's three Glasgow Region City Deal projects, in line for £9m of public cash.

Mr McSporran believes that the site can have an exciting future as well as a proud history.

He said: “Inchgreen is a big site that lends itself to creating high quality work and high employment numbers.

"Inverclyde will welcome the boost this will bring to the local economy.

"We’re very pleased that we’ve managed to get this far, and we intend to deliver some transformational work in the next year.

"We’re working apace and haven’t wasted a minute to get to where we are and I’m going to be relentless in turning both Hunterston and Inchgreen around.”