25 Oct 2018
An ambitious plan to bring marine manufacturing and support industries back to the Upper Clyde, if fully realised, will result in almost 1000 new jobs.
Malin Group, a Glasgow-based marine engineering company with a worldwide operation, but whose Clydeside roots go back to the Victorian era, plans to create a marine manufacturing hub at Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire, one of Scotland’s unemployment blackspots.
If realised, the Scottish Marine Technology Park, in the shadow of the Erskine Bridge, will be developed on a derelict 47-acre site, formerly the Carless oil storage facility which suffered extensive damage during WW2.
Unlike locations further up-river, the site is land zoned for industrial use and will have direct access to a deep-water channel via a 80-metre long deep-water quayside berth with heavy lift facilities.
Malin Group managing director John MacSween said he believed the hub would be a “magnet” for marine engineering and technology organisations and “a centre of excellence” for the sector.
Malin commissioned respected land development and infrastructure consultants Peter Brett Associates (PBA) to carry out an economic impact assessment of the development.
The findings make happy reading for West Dunbartonshire, which has an unemployment rate of 4.9% compared with the Scottish average of 3.9%, and for the future of Clydeside industry.
PBA envisages an economic impact that will create 986 jobs, if the plan is fully realised, and add £125.4m annually to West Dunbartonshire’s economy. The construction phase of the project will also see over 600 additional short-term jobs created.
John MacSween said: “The heritage of the Clyde is something of which we should all be rightly proud. We have been working in the shipping industry for over 100 years and have a passion for the river and its history, but there is a need to be looking to the future to ensure the long-term success of the Clyde as a maritime centre of excellence.
“There are already great examples of this in the form of what is being done at BAE Systems and at Ferguson Marine in the shipbuilding sector. Training and ship-management too are very well represented and the Department of Naval Architecture at Strathclyde University is a world class centre for research and learning in the marine sector.
“What we are looking to achieve at Old Kilpatrick is to complement these activities and bring other marine clients, companies and interests here. I believe this development will be a magnet that will draw marine organisations to it, and that it will ultimately become a centre of excellence for the sector.
“The flexibility of the site is key. We will provide a blank canvas and I see it as an industrial marine incubator. We want to create a Marine Technology Hub which brings together providers of research, skills development, design, manufacturing and practical marine operational and logistics experience in a location that has complementary facilities backed by direct access to the deep-water channel of the River Clyde.
“We are very pleased to have Scottish Enterprise working with us in pushing this venture forward and excited about the impact it will have both on this part of the Clyde, and Scotland as a whole.
“We carried out a wide-ranging search along the Clyde over several years to identify a suitable site, and despite heavy contamination from its oil refinery past and the need for extensive quay and access work the Carless site in Old Kilpatrick was the obvious answer.”
The development, which is in an advanced stage of planning with West Dunbartonshire Council, will see a £10m remediation and regeneration of the contaminated land that is a legacy of the past oil refinery.
The site represents a unique opportunity on the Clyde for new and existing businesses in the marine sector to have direct access to the open sea. Malin will move its own fabrication company, which currently builds workboats for the aquaculture industry and other marine fabrications at Renfrew, to the site to kick start the development.
Bodies involved in a consultation were Scottish Canals, West Dunbartonshire Council, Crown Estates, Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and SEPA.
Mark Newlands, Regional Head of Partnerships at Scottish Enterprise, said: "We welcome Malin’s ambitious plans to revitalise this site and create much needed jobs in the West Dunbartonshire area. We look forward to working alongside the company to support its growth aspirations.”
About Malin Group
Malin Group’s roots in the marine industry on the Clyde can be traced back over 100 years, and the modern-day company provides experience and capability in project management, design, transportation, chartering, equipment and fabrication.
The Group’s naval architects, marine engineers and project managers provide experience and practical knowledge to assist clients on complex global projects.
Malin Group’s specialist heavy lift shipping roots go back to the 1980s, with group company Henry Abram & Sons diversifying from ship delivery to heavy lift transportation, and the group then incorporated Malin Marine Consultants (Glasgow) in 2001, providing specialist technical support and naval architecture.
The Group, which now comprises six companies – the others being Malin Marine Consultants (Aberdeen), Malin Fabrication, Cleanship Solutions, Ballast Water Containers (BWC) and London-based Malin Integrated Solutions – is located in the iconic South Rotunda building on the banks of the Clyde at Pacific Quay.