Dismantling Operations at Hunterston Coal Terminal, Ayrshire, Fairlie – The deepest water port on the UK’s West Coast 


Hunterston Port on the Ayrshire Coast was initially identified as a site which could provide an ore-importing facility to the Scottish iron and steel industry in 1968. With 80-feet water depths and large intertidal sandbanks, it was a uniquely suitable location for a world-class bulk import facility. The proposals involved reclaiming 605 acres of these sands for an ore stockyard and constructing a 4,500 ft jetty extending into the naturally deep water, avoiding the need to dredge the seabed.

Client: Peel Ports

Contract: Crane Dismantling, Demolition, Explosive Demolition

Contract Start/End: 16.03.19 – 28.02.20

Approval for the iron ore terminal was granted by the Secretary of State in December 1970 and, once built, Hunterston Ore Terminal was one of the deepest water ore terminals in the world, directly linked by rail to Ravenscraig Steelworks in Motherwell.

Ravenscraig Steelworks closed in 1992 and a year later Huntertson was acquired by Clydeport, which was in turn acquired by Peel Group in 2003.

Key Facts

The deepest water port on the UK’s West Coast with 23m alongside

Two rail terminals and superb road connections providing direct access to Scotland and rest of the UK

Circa 300 acres of development land

Existing planning permission for port and associated uses

Capacity to store up to 1.5 million tonnes of cargo

Major grid connections to the UK National Grid

Marine platform construction yard

One of the largest dry docks in the country

Project Description

Technical Demolition Services where appointed by Peel Ports Group, to undertake the dismantling and decommissioning works of the redundant coal terminal.

The Demolition and dismantling works consisted of various parts of the project. Dismantling and Demolition of various junction houses and conveyors, Explosive demolition of stacker reclaimers, dismantling of two of the largest cranes in Europe, with a small ship loader crane situated at the South of the jetty. As well as Explosive Demolition of two large coal bunkers estimated at over 2.800 tons.

Works were carried out using various tools plant and attachments, such as, Liebherr 954 with 8 ton hydraulic powered sheer, Liebherr 934 rubber duck, fitted with 9 ton hydraulic sheer and magnet, two Liebherr 906s fitted with, Hydraulic sheer, magnet selector grab and bucket attachments, Liebherr 946 fitted with Hydraulic sheer, Bedford 50 ton 4 wheel drive dump truck, Liebherr LR1160 man basket crawler crane, Hitachi SLX 6000 crawler lifting crane, Man basket MEWPs, Oxy Propane cutting.

Scope of Works 

  • Dismantling of two ship unloader cranes
  • Dismantling of ships loader crane
  • Demolition and dismantling of various junction houses and sub-stations
  • Demolitionand dismantling of causeway and jetty conveyor systems
  • Conveyor belt winding
  • Explosive Demolition of three stacker reclaimer bucket wheels
  • Explosive Demolition of two large coal bunkers
  • Dismantling of conveyor system crossing Network Rail main line
  • Dismantling of Conveyor crossing over A78 dual carriageway

 Project Challenges

  • Interact and liaise with local community councils
  • Liaise with local authority and police
  • Liaise with Network rail for explosive Demolition of coal bunkers and conveyors
  • Liaise with Transerv Scotland in regards to dual carriageway closure
  • Liaise with client at monthly meetings
  • Monthly HSE standard audits
  • Minimise coal dust, noise and vibration