Aberdeen sees continued growth in support vessel trafficNews // September 8, 2011
Continued growth in oil and gas-related traffic at Aberdeen Harbour has further underlined the port’s critical importance to the energy sector in north-west Europe.
More than 3,574 support vessels have visited the port so far this year, compared with 3,394 for the same period in 2010. In addition, the overall tonnage of traffic servicing the energy sector is up by almost two percent on the previous year, rising from 10.46 million tonnes to 10.65 million tonnes.
These increases reflect the trend for larger vessels, such as multi-purpose supply, diving support and underwater examination, using the harbour and accommodating the rising volumes of consumables needed for deepwater developments. New drilling activity also accounts for greater traffic movements, from anchor handlers to more specialist crafts.
Recent work at the port has enabled it to support growing traffic and vessels of increasing size. A succession of projects has seen a third of its 6.8km of quays completely transformed.
Point Law peninsula alone has seen investment of more than £20million in recent years.
The improved facilities have allowed greater efficiency of operations and have introduced sharing opportunities for the port’s customers. Redundant buildings have also been demolished and improvements have been made to road surfacing, providing more operational space.
The first phase of Aberdeen Harbour’s £30million Torry Quay development remains on track for completion by the end of 2011. The initial stage of the largest civil engineering project to be undertaken at the port in recent years includes the demolition of the existing upstream quays, which are to be replaced with 300 metres of realigned, deep-water berthing.
The development will provide stronger quays for heavy lifts and create more room in the River Dee for vessels to navigate. The overall programme will result in more than 500 metres of new deep-water berths and in excess of seven hectares of back up land on the south side of the River Dee.
A £4million refurbishment project at Commercial Quay East has provided greater flexibility to support larger projects, with work including the reconstruction of the existing 170m long quay wall and the dredging of the berthing area to a depth of -7.5m.
As a result of these developments, the port continues to attract growing international oil and gas-related traffic. With links to more than 40 worldwide destinations, earlier this year it announced a new freight service supplying goods for developments in Norway and Murmansk.
Colin Parker, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour, said: “The global footprint of the oil and gas industry presents a number of challenges for modern-day ports. Distribution and supply are key considerations; in terms of both the transportation of equipment and manpower in addition to the supply of hydrocarbons around the world.
“We have made significant investments to ensure that Aberdeen Harbour is in the best possible position to meet these challenges – which can be seen from the growing number of vessels using the port. The fact that we are continuing to develop international links to destinations such as the Barents Sea and Murmansk highlights the importance of the port to the oil and gas sector in north-west Europe.”