An ambitious West Coast water transport business has expanded its fleet with a £700,000 funding package from Clydesdale Bank.
Troon Tugs, which provides freight and tug services, has acquired a 64-metre landing craft with support from Clydesdale Bank. The deal, which has enabled the business to embark on a significant new timber transportation project, was delivered by business development manager Stewart Rogerson, who is based at the Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Ayr.
The business, which has been a customer of Clydesdale Bank since being founded almost 30 years ago, purchased the boat earlier this year on the Greek island of Corfu. It was converted in a shipyard in Athens before sailing to Scotland to join Troon Tugs’ existing fleet of a timber barge and two tugs.
The vessel, known as the Red Princess, went into operation this month. In partnership with a number of Ayrshire sawmills, it now sails weekly between Troon harbour and a beach at Sannox, a coastal village on Arran, where it removes timber grown on the island. The route has been introduced as part of a scheme that aims to move transportation away from fragile rural roads to rail and sea.
Troon Tugs is also developing a number of other timber routes for the Red Princess, including one near Oban.
The introduction of the vessel is set to triple the company’s turnover to approximately £1 million. The company has also doubled the number of staff it employs, increasing from four crew members to up to 12 including relief crew.
It will also benefit the wider Ayrshire and Arran economy by supporting timber industry jobs locally.
Robin Taylor, managing director of Troon Tugs, said: “Incorporating the Red Princess into our fleet has opened up new opportunities as it allows us for the first time to operate in waters where there is limited shore infrastructure.
“Undertaking the new Arran timber route marks a significant expansion of our business, but it isn’t just Troon Tugs that will gain from the project. Transporting timber by sea is cleaner and greener as it reduces road travel. Opening up the route will also maintain timber jobs on Arran, where employment opportunities are scarce.
“We’re grateful to Clydesdale Bank for their long-standing support. Business went very quiet during the recession but the Bank’s proactive team continued to take an interest in us and responded quickly when it became clear there was an opportunity to grow.”
Stewart Rogerson said: “After spotting a gap in the timber transportation market Troon Tugs has embarked on a significant expansion of its services. Its growth is a testament to experience and expertise of Robin and his crew.
“As we begin to see signs of economic recovery, Clydesdale Bank remains focused on investing in the growth ambitions of the local business community.”