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Highland port on crest of a wave as annual profits leap

Cromarty Firth Port Authority, Invergordon.
Cromarty Firth Port Authority, Invergordon.

The Highlands’ largest port has reported the most successful year in its 46-year history, with a 90% leap in annual profits.

Invergordon-based Port of Cromarty Firth (PCF) said its 2018 financial results were boosted by an increase in North Sea oil and gas drilling and “strong activity” across all its other key market segments, including the award of a £10.6 million offshore renewables contract and the arrival of a record number of cruise liner passengers.

Figures for the year to the end of last December issued yesterday by the trust port showed pre-tax profits soared to £4.1m, from £2.1m in 2017, and turnover increased by £1.5m to £11.4m over the same period.

Nine rig inspection, repair and maintenance projects were carried out at the port’s facilities last year – the highest annual figure since 2010.

A total of 95 cruise ships, carrying 163,000 passengers arrived at Invergordon during 2018.

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

“Our new cruise record equates to an 11% increase in the number of passengers, following on from last year’s 54% increase.”

He added: “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.

“This unlocked the funding necessary for Phase 4 to begin – a new £31m berth and laydown area development.

“This is another significant investment which will bring value to the Highlands for decades to come.

“When completed in spring 2020 this energy and cruise hub will deliver additional space for the different industries that visit the firth and the construction of the new berth is expected to generate over 100 jobs.”

Roger Eddie, vice- chairman of PCF’s board, said: “The growth we have experienced in recent years and the investment the port has made in securing opportunities for the area are now recognised at a regional and national level.

“The port is now acknowledged as a national strategic asset and, as a result, is playing an increasing role in regional development.”

Richard Ballantyne was appointed chairman of PCF’s board last December, replacing Douglas Russell in the role.

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