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First Barge Built at Methil Shipyard Since 1850s

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 7, 2023

(Photo: Harland & Wolff)

(Photo: Harland & Wolff)

Harland & Wolff announced the completion of the first barge at its shipyard in Methil, Fife, since 1856.

The barge, which has been built for waste management and recycling business Cory, will launch from Methil and be taken by sea to Cory’s lighterage site on the banks of the River Thames. It will join Cory’s existing fleet of tugs and barges, which are used to transport recyclable and non-recyclable waste via a series of river-based transfer stations across London.

Matt Smith, General Manager of Harland & Wolff (Methil), said, "We were delighted to welcome the Cory barge fabrication project into the Methil yard. Whilst many of the shipbuilding skills that are required still exist in the yard, this is the first time since 1856 that we have actually seen shipbuilding occur in this yard. The completion of the first barge is a milestone in this yard’s new journey and demonstrates the strength and versatility of skill that exists in the Methil workforce.”

Cory placed an initial order of 11 barges with Harland & Wolff in June 2022 worth £8.5 million. Subsequently, Cory entered into a second contract for a further 12 barges, taking the contract total to £18.1 million.

The contract has enabled the resurgence of shipbuilding skills at Harland & Wolff’s Methil site since the Santiago was completed in 1856. In Belfast, the contract has allowed Harland & Wolff’s iconic shipyard to recommission its vast fabrication halls and pass these skills and techniques on to the next generation of shipyard workers, ahead of its ramp up following the execution of the manufacture subcontract for the  three vessel Fleet Solid Support (FSS) Program.

The Cory project has kept 115 people in active work at the Methil facility and enabled further employment, bringing the workforce up to around 150 people. Around 15 year one and year two apprentices have been able to work on this project, providing them with essential shipbuilding experience at this crucial early stage of their careers.

Fran Comerford-Cole, Director of Logistics at Cory, said, “Cory has been operating on the river for well over 200 years, and we are proud that we are able to continue our support for the U.K. maritime sector through this contract with Harland & Wolff. I hope that this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter at the Methil shipyard, and we look forward to welcoming the new barge to our fleet.”

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