Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened Port of Aberdeen’s transformational £420 million expansion project on Friday September 22, catalysing a multi-billion pound economic and jobs boost for Scotland.
Already an economic powerhouse for the region, independent analysis forecast that when the expanded Port of Aberdeen reaches its full potential, the port’s gross value added contribution will jump 60% to £2.4 billion and increase the number of jobs supported by 45% to an incredible 17,500.
Bob Sanguinetti, Port of Aberdeen’s CEO said: “We’re honoured that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal joined us for this monumental occasion. Port of Aberdeen is the UK’s oldest business and we’re now officially opened the country’s newest harbour. Aberdeen’s expanded port promises a vibrant future for energy, trade, and tourism across Scotland on the road to net zero, unlocking new jobs and attracting investment to the region.
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said: “As the largest new marine infrastructure project in the UK, Port of Aberdeen’s South Harbour will have a huge positive impact on the north-east of Scotland and will be a national asset of strategic significance to Scotland.
“Port of Aberdeen is at the forefront of the vital transition to net zero. It will be key to helping pivot our economy towards new decarbonised technologies and fuels, not least in facilitating the growth in offshore wind and developing tidal wave research.
“Aberdeen South Harbour has the potential to capitalise on the existing, strong energy supply chain located in the north-east of Scotland.”
Minister for Nuclear and Networks, Andrew Bowie, said: “I am thrilled to attend the opening of the Aberdeen South Harbour. This is a staggering feat of British engineering excellence and I look forward to seeing the transformational impact it will have on the local area.
“Constructing the largest marine infrastructure project in Trust Port history shows this country’s ability to attract inward investment, delivering jobs, economic growth and prosperity to the local community while helping us achieve our climate goals.”
More than 250 stakeholders attended the opening event on Dunnottar Quay which was marked with The Princess Royal unveiling a plaque and ‘Octopode Accropode’ structure which was specially designed and painted by local street artist, Craig Fisher.
During the event, The Princes Royal engaged with a wide range of people who helped take Aberdeen South Harbour from concept to completion, as well as representatives from the private, public and third sectors.
Port of Aberdeen’s continued commitment to supporting those most in need was highlighted at the event with £30,000 of funding awarded to local charities and community group projects, such as Aberdeen Cyrenians, Aberdeen Science Centre and Befriend a Child. This takes the port’s charitable donations through its supPORT-all community action programme in 2023 to £70,000.
At the peak of construction, there were 300 people working onsite and more than 30 companies from across the north-east of Scotland were involved in the construction of Aberdeen South Harbour. These local organisations played an instrumental role in the successful completion and benefitted from contact awards of £44 million since 2020, with a further £16 million of work delivered by companies across the rest of Scotland.
The new harbour has generated more than £3 million of revenue during its phased opening and is attracting vessels and projects that would have previously sailed past the city, often destined for a European port.
This increased activity in energy, trade and tourism supports local jobs, attracts local supply chain spend and investment, and the profits generated are reinvested back into the port to improve the facilities for future generations.
With Aberdeen South Harbour complete, Port of Aberdeen is the largest berthage port in Scotland. The new facility, next to the Energy Transition Zone, can accommodate vessels up to 300m in length, with port users and customer benefiting from an additional 1.5km of deepwater berths, to a maximum depth of 15m, 125,000sqm of flexible project areas and significant heavy lift capacity. The expanded port is a recognised development under the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4.
The official opening marked a new chapter in the port’s almost 900 years of history. Continued close partnership across the private sector and public sector is essential to maximise the potential of this new facility for the region and nation.