Ferguson Shipbuilders in Port Glasgow was placed into administration on 15th August with the loss of 77 jobs. Staff arrived for work that day but most were made redundant immediately. Joint administrators from KPMG said the business had gone bust due to a lack of orders and mounting cash flow pressure. Originally formed in 1906 the company was the last commercial shipbuilder operating on the River Clyde. In recent years the Ferguson Shipyard had completed work to deliver two hybrid ferries for CalMac plus work for Babcock, a contract was ongoing to convert the 769gt/1982 built Kyle Venture (formerly Grampian Falcon) into a live fish carrier.

It was not too long before Clyde Blowers announced that it had acquired the yard with plans to upgrade the facility and turn to renewables and seek further work in order to create up to 120 jobs. Meanwhile, the campaign to rejuvenate Portsmouth’s shipbuilding industry after work was lost to a Scottish based yard by BAE Systems Shipbuilding has hit trouble. The Portsmouth Shipbuilding Group was set up in the wake of the decision made by BAE Systems in 2013 and was fronted by city marine consultants Stanton Burdett. They wanted the government to commission a new Ocean Patrol Vessel which it wanted to build along with other vessels at the yard to ensure its long-term future was secure. But the project needed £100m of government money to get off the ground, and as no commitment was made by ministers that the funds or another OPV would come to light, it never happened. Now the group, which also included Aurora Ventures, Ecospeed Marine Ltd., Offshore Expeditions, and Burgess Marine, has decided the dream is over and has disbanded.

September also saw Scotland’s Perth Harbour sales listed by Perth and Kinross Council, who are seeking investment to secure the future harbour operations as a key logistics hub. The working sea port provides a lower cost alternative to larger coastal ports and is situated on the River Tay just 30 miles from the North Sea. Perth is Scotland’s fastest growing city. Perth Harbour currently operates 24 hours a day handling coastal and dry bulk ships up to 90 metres in length, carrying up to 2,500 tonnes of cargo from Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia dock at its four main berths. Operations work in time with the tides with vessels arriving on one high tide and departing on the next to ensure
maximum efficiency.

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