Scottish authorities have approved a massive £350 million expansion project for the port of Aberdeen as the port positions itself to handle larger vessels across a wide range of industries, including offshore decommissioning and also the cruise market.
Aberdeen Harbour was recently granted planning consent for the project in the form of Marine Licenses and a Harbour Revision Order by the Scottish Government. The project was officially sanctioned Tuesday by the Aberdeen Harbour Board, which was followed by the signing of the construction contract with the preferred bidder, Dragados UK, on Wednesday.
“We are delighted that, after six years of detailed planning and extensive consultation with our many stakeholders and the regulatory authorities, we are now in a position to approve commencement of construction”, stated Colin Parker, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board.
The project involves developing facilities aimed at boosting marine support capabilities, particularly to accommodate the trend for larger vessels across many industries.
“The expansion will afford existing customers the opportunity to diversify and expand their interests, whilst attracting new customers and markets to the port, including up-scaled decommissioning activity, a more significant share of the available cruise vessel fleet and larger more cost-effective commercial vessels,” the port said in a statement Tuesday.
The new facilities will include 1,400 meters of new quay with a water depth of up to 10.5 meters and creation of an additional 125,000 square meters of lay-down area.
Project construction is scheduled to commence in the spring 2017, with a completion date of summer 2020.
An independent study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, estimates that the development will generate an additional £1 billion per year to the economy by 2035, and will create an additional 7,000 equivalent jobs, the port said.
“This major new chapter in the port’s history continues this approach and underpins the Trust Port ethos of viewing future generations as key stakeholders,” added Alistair Mackenzie, Chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board. “We believe that the infrastructure developed in Nigg Bay will encourage and support the continued prosperity of the city and region that the harbour serves and make a significant national economic contribution”.
Funding for the project included commercial borrowing from the European Investment Bank, and funding from the Aberdeen City & Region Deal. Support for the project’s feasibility study was also received Scottish Enterprise and from the 2013 Annual Programme Call of the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme.
“Continued investment at Europe’s leading ports is essential to improve infrastructure and to cater for ever-changing shipping needs,” said Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment. “The European Investment Bank is pleased to support the transformational Nigg Bay development that will significantly increase quayside space, allow deep-water access for larger vessels and ensure Aberdeen’s continued strong contribution to the Scottish economy.”