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Gael Force buys Scottish boat builder to make steel feed barges

The Corpach Boatbuilding Company will give Gael Force capacity to build steel feed barges. Photo: Gael Force
The Corpach Boatbuilding Company will give Gael Force capacity to build steel feed barges. Photo: Gael Force

Inverness-based aquaculture and marine supplier Gael Force Group has bought a 75% stake in Corpach Boatbuilding Company in what it describes as a “strategically significant move which could strengthen the West of Scotland’s boat building industry and see the introduction of steel feed barge building on the West coast”.

In a press release, Gael Force said there was potential to expand workforce and capabilities at the boatyard near Fort William at the head of Loch Linnhe, and that the group will continue to support existing operations at Corpach while progressing towards its long-term strategic objective to build a new range of steel feed barges for aquaculture customers.

It added that the development will be viewed as a major opportunity for Scottish producers of farmed salmon to benefit from an innovative, competitive and home-built alternative to imported steel feed barges, many of which are currently manufactured outside the UK in Eastern Europe.

Corpach’s boat building operation, which has 22 employees, adds to Gael Force’s well-established concrete barge-building facility in Inverness. Gael Force said that facility continues to play an important part in its business and is expected to continue to grow as planned.

We look forward to achieving our long-term objective of offering an innovative Scottish-built substitute to imported steel barges

Gael Force owner Stewart Graham
Stewart Graham: Offering a made-in-Scotland steel feed barge option
Stewart Graham: Offering a made-in-Scotland steel feed barge option

Gael Force Group managing director and owner Stewart Graham said: “We are delighted to welcome Corpach Boatbuilding Company as part of an expanding Gael Force Group. 

“Throughout our discussions it was clear we share the same motivation for close customer collaboration with an aim to deliver outstanding quality in product and service. 

“We look forward to working with our colleagues at Corpach to grow the existing business as a first-class boat builder and achieve our long-term objective of offering an innovative Scottish-built substitute to imported steel barges.

“Additionally, we see this development as strategically critical to Scotland’s boat building and servicing capability and also for Lochaber’s exciting development plans too.”

Corpach Boatbuilding Company has specialised in the construction and repair of commercial boats together with other engineering and fish farm-related services since its inception in 1992.

Corpach’s marine development manager Donald Hind said: “This is an exciting milestone for our business, and one which promises to give rise to new opportunities for both Corpach and Gael Force. 

“We are hugely excited by the product and workforce development opportunities this deal presents and look forward to strengthening the relationship we have already established.”

Gael Force says there is potential to expand workforce and capabilities at the boatyard. Photo: Gael Force
Gael Force says there is potential to expand workforce and capabilities at the boatyard. Photo: Gael Force