The Board of Aberdeen Harbour has announced that its plans to expand facilities into Nigg Bay, to the south of the existing harbour, are to become a reality.
Commencement of the £350 million project, which was recently granted planning consent in the form of Marine Licenses and a Harbour Revision Order by the Scottish Government, was sanctioned by the Board yesterday. The construction contract with its preferred bidder, Dragados UK is due to be formalised at a signing ceremony today.
“We are delighted that, after six years of detailed planning and extensive consultation with our many stakeholders and the regulatory authorities, we are now in a position to approve commencement of construction”, stated Colin Parker, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board.
“Following a detailed engagement process, Aberdeen Harbour Board, in partnership with Dragados UK, a main contractor, will develop facilities over the next three years that will represent a step change in the marine support capabilities in Scotland. These will transform the port’s ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries.
“The expansion will afford existing customers the opportunity to diversify and expand their interests, whilst attracting new customers and markets to the port, including up-scaled decommissioning activity, a more significant share of the available cruise vessel fleet and larger more cost-effective commercial vessels”.
Alistair Mackenzie, Chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board added, “Aberdeen Harbour has been in existence for almost 900 years. Its longevity can be attributed to its ability to adapt to changing trading requirements and being forward-thinking in delivering new and improved facilities to support its customers, while at the same time attracting new business.
“This major new chapter in the port’s history continues this approach and underpins the Trust Port ethos of viewing future generations as key stakeholders. We believe that the infrastructure developed in Nigg Bay will encourage and support the continued prosperity of the city and region that the harbour serves and make a significant national economic contribution”.
The development, which is a Scottish Government National Planning Framework (3) Project and is scheduled to be completed by 2020, was welcomed by the Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf, who said: “This is excellent news for Aberdeen and the Scottish maritime industry, as the signing of the construction contract means this nationally significant project can now get underway in earnest.
“The significant investment will bring jobs and business to Aberdeen, supporting the local and national economy. The historic harbour will be transformed to accommodate larger vessels, opening up potential new revenue streams and offering customers world-class marine support facilities.
“These are exciting times for Aberdeen Harbour. I wish everyone involved in the project every success and I very much look forward to following the expansion as it progresses.”
Dragados UK were named as the Board’s preferred bidder in September this year, and the company announced that they plan to commence construction on site in early 2017.
The new facilities will include 1,400 metres of new quay, with a water depth of up to 10.5 metres and will create an additional 125,000 square metres of lay-down area. An independent study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, estimates that the development will generate an additional £1 billion per annum to the economy by 2035, and will create an additional 7,000 equivalent jobs.
Funding arrangements for the project incorporated commercial borrowing from the European Investment Bank, and funding from the Aberdeen City & Region Deal. Support for the project’s feasibility study was also received Scottish Enterprise and from the 2013 Annual Programme Call of the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme.
Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank also commented: “Continued investment at Europe’s leading ports is essential to improve infrastructure and to cater for ever-changing shipping needs. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support the transformational Nigg Bay development that will significantly increase quayside space, allow deep-water access for larger vessels and ensure Aberdeen’s continued strong contribution to the Scottish economy.”