Port of Cromarty Firth is planning a new quayside complex for cruise ship passengers with space for businesses to set up ‘pop-up shops’, the organisation’s chief executive, Bob Buskie, revealed yesterday.
But multi-million-pound plans for a larger scale liner terminal at Invergordon, announced in 2016, have been put on hold while the current port expansion and offshore wind farm contract are carried out.
Mr Buskie said: “There has been a prioritisation of projects due to the fact that we’ve had the funding support from the Moray East project. That project is going to last until March 2020 to build, then 18 months of use.
“If Moray West comes on the back of it, that’s another couple of years of use, so the aspiration of building that facility is probably going to be four or five years away.
“We’ve got an ergonomics project kicked off to look at what we can do on the service base side of Invergordon for the cruise liners and to build something intermediate that would be fit-for-purpose.”
Mr Buskie added: “We have already allowed one contractor on to the site with a shopping facility.
“We are going out to tender this year to enable some capability on the quayside.
“The ideal vision would be to have a capability there where the local incumbents on the high street can pitch up and have representation with pop-up kind of shops through the summer. That’s the kind of thing we’re looking at.”
A project to add more parking spaces for liner-related traffic is due to get under way in the spring.
Mr Buskie said logistical arrangements at that same part of the port were also going to be changed to allow buses and taxis to come and go “more seamlessly”.
Invergordon is one of Scotland’s busiest cruise ship destinations in a fast-growing international market. A total of 109 liners are due to visit during 2019.