Cruise ship trade helps Port of Cromarty Firth to record result

Port of Cromarty Firth has hailed its best ever year financially, with turnover of £11.4 million more than topping last year’s record result.

Port bosses also pointed to a slight increase in North Sea drilling activity during 2018. Picture: Stratos UAS

At the end of 2018, the port won a bumper £10.6m contract from the Moray East offshore wind farm, which paved the way for a massive £31m investment in a new quayside.

The past year also saw the global stabilisation of oil and gas prices and “slightly increased” drilling activity in the North Sea. As a result, the facility welcomed nine oil rig inspection, repair and maintenance projects – the highest since 2010.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The port celebrated 40 years of welcoming cruise ships into the Cromarty Firth. In 2018, the sector “continued to go from strength to strength” with 95 ships and 163,000 passengers visiting the Highlands.

Turnover of £11.4m was £1.5m more than the previous year’s record. As a trust port, this means that 100 per cent of surplus income – £4.1m before tax – is reinvested into future development work.

Bob Buskie, chief executive of Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “Not only was 2018 a record year in terms of turnover and surplus, it was a year in which we saw strong activity in all market segments.

“Our new cruise record equates to an 11 per cent increase in the number of passengers, following on from last year’s 54 per cent increase. 2018 finished with the successful award of a major contract for the Moray East offshore wind farm against national and international competition; proving once again that our region is extremely competitive and that people in the Highlands have the necessary expertise and skills to deliver any North Sea energy project.”