Aberdeen harbour has £350m expansion plans approved

A £350m plan to expand Aberdeen harbour into Nigg Bay is to go ahead after the city’s harbour board approved a harbour revision order from the Scottish Government.

The development is estimated to boost the local economy by £1bn a year by 2035 and create 7,000 new jobs. The new facilities will include 1,400 metres of new quay, with a water depth of up to 10.5 metres and an additional 125,000 square metres of lay-down area.

Preferred bidder for the project is Dragados UK signed contracts at a signing ceremony today.

Work on the extension, which will provide a new facility for oil industry decommissioning work, will begin early in 2017 and is due for completion in 2020.

Other improvements included in the expansion plans are aimed at attracting cruise ships to the port and Aberdeen Harbour Board described the project as a “major new chapter” in the port’s history.

Board chief executive Colin Parker commented: “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.

“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.”

Scottish Government transport minister Humza Yousaf 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.”

Funding arrangements for the project incorporated commercial borrowing from the European Investment Bank, and funding from the Aberdeen City and Region Deal. Support for the project’s feasibility study was also received from 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.”

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