Aberdeen Harbour looks to reel in opportunities amid expansion

Aberdeen Harbour – one of the oldest companies in Britain – has unveiled a drop in turnover, but said it is “poised” to harness opportunities that will help foster economic prosperity.

The port – which is undergoing a £350 million expansion – said it “undoubtedly” experienced major challenges since the outbreak of Covid-19, but helped keep essential cargo moving.

It aims to focus on large-scale energy transition projects, new trade environments following Brexit, and the potential benefits associated with Scottish greenports.

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Aberdeen Harbour Board has revealed its annual results, saying it saw a 16 per cent decrease in vessel tonnage and 35 per cent drop in vessel arrivals. “This, combined with reduced ferry services and assistance provided to tenants, saw a decrease in turnover of 13 per cent to £33 million.”

The port says it has played a key role during the pandemic in keeping essential cargo on the move. Picture: contributed.

Chief executive Michelle Handforth said: “Protecting our core business became our ultimate priority in 2020, as we, along with ports around the UK and the broader maritime industry, faced significant challenges due to a global reduction in shipping activity in the energy, ferry, cargo and cruise industries.

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“We took critical measures to support and sustain our employees, customers and port users in the delivery of vital lifeline services, playing a significant role in the national effort to keep fuel, medical supplies and essential cargo on the move.

“We must now look to the future and work with our local and national partners to ensure maximum recovery in our associated sectors.”

It also says its £350 million expansion project is on track for phased completion in 2021 and into 2022. Picture: contributed.

The port added that its expansion project is on track for phased completion in 2021 and into 2022, which will make it the largest berthage port in Scotland, able to accommodate vessels up to 300 metres long.

Ms Handforth continued: “Our innovative plans to leverage the economic potential of the port will soon become a reality.”

In September of this year she will hand over the CEO tiller to Bob Sanguinetti, the current chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping.

Alistair Mackenzie, chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said: “I have no doubt Bob Sanguinetti will successfully lead the business forward into the next exciting chapter in its history. It is our ambition to be the port of choice for businesses around the world, and a key component of the ongoing economic development of both Scotland the UK.”

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