On 22nd September, the UK’s HRH The Princess Royal officially opened Port of Aberdeen’s £420 mill expansion project, which can accommodate large cruise ships.
Independent analysis forecast that when the expanded port reaches its full potential, its gross value added contribution will rise by 60% to £2.4 bill and increase the number of jobs supported by 45% to 17,500.
Bob Sanguinetti, Port of Aberdeen CEO, said: “We’re honoured that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is joining us for this monumental occasion.
“Port of Aberdeen is the UK’s oldest business and we’re now officially opening 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,” he said.
Ian McQuade, Cruise Britain Chair, added: “The opening of the Port of Aberdeen’s South Harbour development is a transformational change for cruise tourism to the region and further enhances the appeal of cruises to and around Britain. The global cruise market is growing rapidly and the projections for cruises to the British Isles are very encouraging.
“South Harbour offers significantly increased capacity and facilities, allowing guests sailing on vessels up to 300 m to enjoy everything that Aberdeenshire has to offer. Cruise Britain is delighted to offer our congratulations to all involved in delivering this exciting project,” he said.
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 benefited from contact awards of £44 mill since 2020, with a further £16 mill of work delivered by companies across the rest of Scotland.
The new harbour has generated more than £3 mill of revenue during its phased opening.
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, the Port of Aberdeen is the largest berthage port in Scotland.
Located next to the Energy Transition Zone, it can accommodate vessels up to 300 m in length on 1.5 km of deepwater berths, dredged to a maximum depth of 15 m, with 125,000 sq m of flexible project areas and significant heavy lift capacity.
The expansion project was significantly self-funded by the port with support from the European Investment Bank, Scottish National Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise, and Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council through the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
Earlier, the Port of Aberdeen was awarded funding from the UK Government for a multi-million pound project to design and deliver the first large-scale landside and vessel shore power system in Scotland.
This demonstrator project will cut vessel emissions at the berths by more than 80%, compared with burning marine fuel and save in excess of 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the next 20 years, the port claimed.
Crucially, ‘Shore Power in Operation’ will pave the way for the roll-out of green shore power across the North Harbour. This could slash the port’s total emissions by 78%, equivalent to an annual reduction of 34,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Details of the ‘Shore Power in Operation’ project, part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition, were unveiled during London International Shipping Week.
Aberdeen is leading an industry and academia consortium, which includes Connected Places Catapult, DOF Subsea, Tidewater Marine UK, OSM Offshore and The University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre, to deliver the initiative.
This project follows a successful Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) funded feasibility study completed in March, 2022.
The new funding will see the design and installation of shore power facilities at seven berths on Albert Quay and Mearns Quay in the port’s North Harbour, which will be operational by April, 2025, or sooner.
Aberdeen is also focused on collaborating with private and public sector partners to facilitate future low and zero carbon fuel alternatives for vessels calling at the port.
Sanguinetti, added: “Aberdeen has firmly established itself as a port of choice for innovation and collaboration in this area and the ZEVI funding further strengthens our position.
“We have a bold ambition to become the UK’s first net zero port by 2040 and are investing £55 mill over the next 10 years to turn this into reality. Shore power is critical to achieving our ambition and we look forward to working with our industry partners to deliver this ground-breaking emissions reduction project,” he said.
While Aberdeen’s ZEVI project focuses on the roll-out of shore power at its North Harbour, a recently published report highlighted how the port could de-carbonise operations at its new South Harbour.
The CMDC funded ‘Port Zero’ study, was delivered in partnership with Connected Places Catapult, Buro Happold and Energy Systems Catapult.