A Nova Scotia shipyard is back open for business, after the province invested $8.8 million to help with upgrades.

The province agreed to invest in Shelburne Ship Repair on the condition that Irving Shipbuilding purchase the shipyard.

"Shipbuilding is in our blood in Nova Scotia," says Premier Darrell Dexter. "This investment is Nova Scotia's jobsHere plan in action."

Irving Shipbuilding invested $16.6 million for upgrades, which include modernizing the cradle and marine railway, as well as the wharf.

The province says the restoration, which was completed in August, will strengthen the economy and sustain employment for local residents in the long term.

"A viable shipyard is significant to the economy of Shelburne and its surrounding communities," says Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau in a statement released Tuesday. "This means good jobs in a vibrant sector for years to come."

Employees of Shelburne Ship Repair completed most of the upgrades between April 2010 and August 2011. Projects included removing the old cradle and marine railway and designing and building new ones to accommodate two larger vessels simultaneously.

"There is a solid market for repair work and we have the skilled workers to do those jobs, but we needed a facility that could accommodate larger vessels," says Jim Irving, CEO of Irving Shipbuilding.

Crews also worked to dredge and reconstruct the wharf, and do general paving and repairs, as well as fencing and shop and office repairs.

There are currently 38 employees working on repairs in the yard, and bids for other work have been submitted.