The Port of Aberdeen’s “transformational” £420 million expansion project has been officially opened by The Princess Royal on Friday, September 22.
The Aberdeen South Harbour project has made the Port of Aberdeen the largest berthage port in Scotland, capable of accommodating vessels up to 300 metres in length.
The opening marks the latest chapter for what the Port of Aberdeen said is the UK’s oldest existing business “with a rich heritage stretching back to 1136”.
In addition to 1.5km of deepwater berths the expansion adds 125,000 square km of flexible project areas and significant heavy lift capacity.
In a statement, the Port of Aberdeen said the facility is forecast to increase its gross value-added contribution to the region to £2.4 billion pounds, an increase of 60%.
Supported jobs in the precinct are also forecast to increase by 45% to a total of 17,500.
UK’s newest harbour
Port of Aberdeen chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Sanguinetti said it was an honour for The Princess Royal to officially open the project.
“Port of Aberdeen is the UK’s oldest business and we’re now officially opening the country’s newest harbour,” Mr Sanguinetti said.
“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.”
‘Huge step’ in net zero race
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison the expanded port will be a national asset of strategic significance to Scotland.
“The Port of Aberdeen is at the forefront of the vital transition to net zero,” Ms Robison said.
“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.”
The Port of Aberdeen said the new harbour has already generated more than £3 million of revenue during its phased opening.
During this time it attracted vessels and projects that “would have previously sailed past the city” destined for Europe.
The port’s expansion represents a key piece of infrastructure as Scotland positions itself as a net zero hub.
Over the next 10 years, offshore wind will be the port’s most significant growth area.
Offshore Energies UK CEO David Whitehouse said today represented a huge step in the race to become a net zero economy.
“The Harbour has supported the region for over 880 years, and this expansion will allow our world-class energy industry to take on new projects and spark crucial investment in the North Sea for decades to come,” Mr Whitehouse said.
“We are accelerating homegrown greener technologies like wind, carbon storage and hydrogen, however at the same time supporting our oil and gas sector.”
Renewables sector welcomes port expansion
Chairman of ETZ Ltd Sir Ian Wood called the project a “truly transformational development” and said the quayside and lay down space will be “crucial in increasing our capability to maximise vast opportunities in renewables, particularly offshore wind”.
Chief executive of Scottish Renewables Claire Mack said it was a significant moment for the net zero energy transition.
“Scotland’s ports will play a crucial role in supporting the delivery of a cleaner, greener energy system and they will all need significant investment to support the enormous ambition shared by government and industry for developing offshore wind projects in Scotland’s seas,” Ms Mack said.
Ms Mack also urged the Scottish and UK governments to urgently invest in port infrastructure at “the level of ambition displayed at Aberdeen” to secure the necessary supply chain and manufacturing bases required for mass offshore wind deployment by 2030.
2023 has been a year of milestones for the Port of Aberdeen.
In March this year, the port had already welcomed more than 100 vessels working in offshore wind.
The South Harbour also welcomed the Noble Innovator jack-up oil rig, the largest ever vessel to berth at the port.