Boost for Highlands
Port of Cromarty Firth invests record £30m in quay expansion
Port of Cromarty Firth: ‘strong position’
A record £30 million investment in a new quayside expansion will boost Port of Cromarty Firth’s energy and tourism facilities.
The project will generate 140 jobs and follows the recent announcement of a £10m contract from Moray East Offshore Windfarm for the Invergordon port to handle its 95-turbine development.
The new 218m quayside over nine acres will be completed by 2020. It will accommodate large scale renewable, decommissioning and oil and gas projects and will be able to berth the largest cruise ships being designed and built.
This will be the second quayside and laydown area built by the Port in three years. In 2015/16, the Port invested £25m in a new 150m quayside and nine acre laydown area, which contributed to its most successful year in 2017.
Bob Buskie, pictured, chief executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth said: “This is tremendous news for the Port and the Highlands and it represents a significant investment by the board.
“As a Trust Port, all of our profits are reinvested in the port’s future development. We believe this investment will be help bring new work to the area for decades to come. This is already starting, with last week’s announcement of the Moray East Offshore Windfarm contract.
“The team at the port have been working for two years on this project and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Royal Bank of Scotland and, of course, our new partners Moray East. Everyone collaborated to make this happen for Scotland and the Highlands.”
He added: “There is a substantial demand for the services in the port and, even with the large new quayside and laydown area finished in 2016, we still experience capacity issues. This new Energy and Cruise Hub will help us resolve these problems and open up the Port to being able to accommodate large scale projects from across all sectors.”
Fergus Ewing MSP, for Inverness and Nairn, commented: “This is excellent news and a result of hard work by the team at PoCF.”
The new quayside will be funded jointly by the Port and HIE, including support from the European Regional Development Fund, and with help from the commercial lender RBS.
Charlotte Wright, chief executive of HIE, said: “As well as enabling the port to fulfil its latest major contract for the Moray East windfarm project, this investment will also put it in a strong position to win further business in the energy sector and expand its capacity in the growing cruise ship market.
“By strengthening Scotland’s renewable energy supply chain, and creating new opportunities in the tourism sector, we believe this ambitious project will generate wider economic benefits well beyond the Inner Moray Firth.”
HIE has approved £7.75m grant funding to the project over the coming years. £2.3m of this total is being contributed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and an application for a further £800,000 ERDF funding is under consideration. The HIE package also includes £2m of additional funding from the Scottish Government.
Lindsay Smith, relationship director, corporate and commercial at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Port of Cromarty Firth is a key success story for the north and highlands economy, and this new tranche of investment will ensure it continues to thrive and build upon its role as a premier supporter of the industry’s largest rig inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM), subsea and renewables projects.”