My £8m gamble to revive Clyde shipbuilding

THE new owner of Ferguson shipyard said he hopes to spark a revival of commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde.

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Jim McColl has been named preferred bidder for the yard
Jim McColl has been named preferred bidder for the yard

Jim McColl, whose firm Clyde Blowers Capital has been announced as the preferred bidder for the business, has ambitious investment and expansion plans for the Port Glasgow yard.

Mr McColl was in Australia when he received the news and spoke to the Evening Times about his purchase.

He hopes to grow the workforce and transform the premises to diversify into the oil and gas sector his firm is involved with.

Mr McColl said: "We have to invest quite a lot of money into yard. We know we have to invest and we are going into this with our eyes very much open.

"In the short term we are looking at £8 million.

"There are two big sheds and an open yard.

"One needs to be knocked down and rebuilt and we need to have a covered yard.

"We need improved craneage for heavier lifts and a dry dock might be needed. We need to invest quickly."

Ferguson made 70 staff redundant but Mr McColl said he values their skills.

He said: "The workforce has a lot of skills and we want to recruit a number for the new business.

"In the first year to 18 months we are looking at growing it to 120 workers.

"Over the next few weeks we will look at the work in the yard .

"I don't want to miss that opportunity and lose the skills.

"First step is look at those made redundant by Ferguson. I want to get them back into the business.

"I know they have been made redundant and some will be looking short-term.

"Two weeks until we take over is an age when you have no income. I hope we can retain the bulk of the workforce."

Having saved its last commercial shipyard the multi-millionaire businessman hopes for bigger things on the Clyde.

He said: "I see this a turning point for commercial shipbuilding. I would like this to be the start of a revival of this type of activity on the Clyde.

"The idea of shipbuilding dying here is nuts. We can be global leaders as we were in the past."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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