A bid to expand Aberdeen Harbour has been strengthened by its “significant growth” of activity in 2012, with total vessel tonnage increasing by more than 8% from nearly 26 million to just over 28m tonnes.
The increase also highlighted the continued importance of the Scottish harbour to the energy sector operating in the UK Continental Shelf, as well as general commercial traffic, with the total tonnage of cargo also up almost 8% from 4.76m tonnes in 2011 to 5.14m tonnes last year.
The number of vessels entering the port also grew from 7,784 to 8.142 and these included a number of vessels entering the port for the first time following completion of a £5.2m project to widen and deepen the navigation tunnel.
In order to respond to growing demand for services and spaces, Aberdeen Harbour Board has submitted an application as a candidate to the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework review and, in support of this, the Board has produced a Directions for Growth document outlining the findings from an ongoing feasibility study, which was launched last September, to assess the viability of potential expansion options for a new or improved harbour facility.
Colin Parker, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said: “We continue to see significant year on year increases in vessel numbers and cargo throughput, which underpins the important role Aberdeen Harbour plays as a key strategic resource to offshore activity in the North Sea and wider international energy sector. We have also seen an increase in general commercial traffic to locations such as Norway, Russia and Africa.
“It is also clear that our decision to widen and deepen the navigation channel has had a positive impact on our business and highlights our commitment to ensure that our customers continue to receive a world class service.”
He added: “Any future development of the port will require a robust business case, however, Aberdeen Harbour is a key regional resource that generates more than £500m for the North East economy annually.”