The Port of Inverness has announced it is backing a recently-launched bid to create a free port in the Cromarty Firth.
Yesterday, the trust port’s chief executive, Sinclair Browne, said the organisation believed the move would “benefit the area as a whole”.
The port has joined a group of public and private sector bodies, including the Port of Cromarty Firth (PCF), Global Energy Group, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Highland Council on the Opportunity Cromarty Firth steering group, which aims to establish one of up to 10 post-Brexit free trade zones planned by the UK Government.
If successful, the area would become an independent jurisdiction for customs purposes.
The steering group expects that would attract considerable inward investment into the Highlands, creating a “pipeline” of skilled jobs for the next 50 years.
Mr Browne said: “We are delighted to be joining the steering group of this innovative bid to stimulate economic development, and consolidate our existing skills and strengths into a centre of excellence for the renewable energy technologies of the future.
“The plans would benefit the area as a whole and it is very fitting for the Highland capital to be involved.
“With our excellent facilities, Port of Inverness has built up considerable experience of the renewable energy sector over recent years and we look forward to the opportunities a focus on a green economy will bring to the area.”
Bob Buskie, chief executive of Invergordon-based PCF, welcomed the backing of the port’s near neighbour.
Mr Buskie said: “We are delighted that Port of Inverness has joined the Opportunity Cromarty Firth steering group. Together, along with our fellow partners from industry, academia and the public sector, we will drive forward the case for a free trade zone that will have huge positive benefits for the region, and safeguard sustainable and quality jobs in the Highlands.”
The plans for new free ports anticipate at least one being established in Scotland.