Overall vessel tonnage handled by the port increased by 8%, from 25.91million tonnes in 2011, to 28.19m tonnes in 2012. The Harbour also saw an 8% increase in cargo handled, increasing from 4.76m tonnes in 2011 to 5.14m tonnes in 2012 – another record for the Port.
As a result, Aberdeen Harbour’s annual turnover increased by 13% to £27.37m from £24.06m in 2011, recording a retained profit of £7.46m.
Aberdeen Harbour Chief Executive Colin Parker said: “These results underpin Aberdeen Harbour’s importance to the north east economy. The level of revenue assists the Board in its continued investment in existing facilities and on-going maintenance of current infrastructure. As a Trust Port all profits are retained and reinvested back into projects that will allow us to achieve this. We continue with a strategy of continuous improvement and that means we are well equipped to meet the needs of our customers and play our part in attracting new business to Aberdeen.”
Improvement works in 2012 included the widening of the navigation channel from 33 metres to 70 metres in width and deepening the entrance at a cost of £5.2m. This work enabled the port to welcome its largest ever vessels to date. Phase One of the Harbour’s £30m Torry Quay redevelopment was also completed during 2012, providing a further 260 metres of realigned deep-water berthing. Phase Two of this development will add a further 140 metres and is due for completion during the first half of 2013.
The continuing and projected growth in harbour activity will require matching harbour facilities, and the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour has been identified as a nationally significant development in the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) 3 Main Issues Report published yesterday (April 30).
Additional facilities are required to support oil and gas and renewable energy investment, freight traffic and transport links to the Northern Isles. With levels of activity bringing the port closer to capacity, inclusion in NPF3 encourages Aberdeen Harbour Board to continue its current feasibility study into its options for growth. Aberdeen Harbour’s Directions for Growth Document, published in December 2012, identified Nigg Bay as its preferred location for a new deep-water facility.
Mr Parker said: “We are continuing the process of building the financial case in terms of how the Nigg Bay project could be funded by both borrowings and grants. This will be key to whether the development will proceed. In addition, the profit generated by the existing harbour can be used towards funding the new development.”
Mr Parker said: “The planning and community engagement processes for any new development are in their infancy, but to safeguard continued prosperity for Aberdeen and the wider region, a modern, vibrant, fit-for-purpose harbour is essential. Aberdeen Harbour must therefore continue to adapt to ensure that the services and facilities it provides remain technically relevant in this age of increasing vessel dimensions and intensified cargo activity.”
Aberdeen Harbour Board will discuss 2012 activity and its future plans at its annual stakeholder meeting at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, in Aberdeen, on 20th May.