Port of Aberdeen, previously known as Aberdeen Harbour, has revealed how, while it continued to experience the “detrimental” impact of the pandemic, turnover increased by 1.5 per cent to £33.5 million in 2021 from the prior year, with operating profit growing to £17.4m from £16.9m.
The organisation said that in 2021, just over 6,000 vessels entered the port, the 2 per cent drop from 2020 comprising the smaller tonnage classifications, particularly focused on oil and gas supply vessels, while larger tonnage vessels numbers, including those regarding general goods and dive support, remained less volatile.
The company also said its name change “marks a new chapter in the port’s almost 900-year history”, and follows its latest strategic review for the next five to ten years as it now seeks to become “Scotland’s premier net-zero port, offering world-class facilities and services, at the heart of the nation’s energy transition efforts”.
Port of Aberdeen added that it is at the heart of the Aberdeen City and Peterhead Green Freeport bid that will deliver new energy and opportunities, and regional transformation. “A successful bid will create a global leader in sustainable energy and innovation, transform the region into a powerhouse of new trade and investment, and generate thousands of high-skilled, green jobs and opportunities for those that need them most,” it added.
As for the port’s £400m expansion project, described as the largest marine infrastructure project in the UK, construction of Aberdeen South Harbour continued “at pace” in 2021, as the project moved from marine to land construction. The first commercial vessels are expected this summer as a “soft start” before operations get under way in October.
It was revealed in January that the Scottish National Investment Bank was providing a £30m loan to support the expansion plans.
Chairman Alistair Mackenzie said: “The progress at our South Harbour expansion site has been remarkable. The site looks different every time I visit, which is down to the unwavering commitment from all those working on the project.”
Also commenting was the organisation’s chief executive Bob Sanguinetti, who said: “We are building on our history and heritage as we enter a new era as Port of Aberdeen. The city is perfectly located to be Europe’s energy-transition capital, and our £400m expansion project will be at the heart of the development of high-potential sectors, including offshore wind and green hydrogen.
“Green Freeport status for North-east Scotland will transform the region and deliver unmatched value for Scotland. A successful bid would accelerate new, sustainable energy and innovation, deliver a managed and just transition that leads the nation to net zero and, most importantly, create high-skilled, green jobs across a diverse range of industries.”
Port of Aberdeen states that it boasts the largest berthage in Scotland, was established in 1136 by King David I of Scotland, and is the oldest existing business in Britain according to the Guinness Book of Business Records. Landmarks in its history include in 1909 seeing magician and escapologist Harry Houdini wowing a crowd of thousands with a daring escape after diving into the chilly water whilst chained and handcuffed.