The first barge at Methil shipyard has been build since 1856, as announced by Belfast-based historic shipyard Harland & Wolff.

The barge will join the existing fleet of tugs and barges of waste management and recycling firm Cory, and will be taken by sea to Cory’s lighterage site on the banks of the River Thames.

Cory placed an initial order of 11 barges with Harland & Wolff on 1st 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 with Cory has enabled the resurgence of shipbuilding skills at Harland & Wolff’s Methil site since the Santiago was completed in 1856.

This project has kept 115 people in active work at the Methil facility and enabled further employment, bringing the workforce up to around 150 people.

Cory is one of the largest commercial operators on the Thames, and its use of the river to transport waste removes around 100,000 truck journeys from London’s roads each year.

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 UK 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.”

“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,” said Matt Smith, general manager of Harland & Wolff (Methil).