Hunterston Terminal

Clydeport Hunterston
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Clydeport Hunterston

The Hunterston Terminal is a major coal-handling port on the Clyde Estuary in North Ayrshire, opposite the island of Great Cumbrae. Its 1-mile (1.5-km) long pier extends out into the deep water of the Fairlie Roads, ensuring it can handle the some of the largest vessels afloat (up to 350,000 tonnes). The terminal includes cranes for unloading, large conveyors and storage yards which are connected to the railway network just to the south of Fairlie. The operator claims the fastest unloading speeds in the UK (2400 tonnes per hour), ensuring a quick turnaround for carriers.

Formerly known as the Hunterston Ore Terminal, the facility was built on reclaimed land in the late 1970s by the former British Steel Corporation, under the chairmanship of Sir Monty Finniston (1912-91), to land iron ore and coal, the raw materials for the Ravenscraig Steel Plant (Motherwell). Ravenscraig closed in 1992 and the terminal was bought by the Glasgow-based Clydeport port management company the following year. It now handles only coal, although there are plans to develop a £200 million container terminal which face local opposition.

The Ayrshire Coast Railway Line is dualled to this point, with one track dedicated to serving the Terminal, while passenger services operate on the other.

The remains of an unsuccessful oil platform construction yard lie to the southwest.

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