International links lead to strong growth at Aberdeen HarbourNews // February 2, 2012
Aberdeen Harbour continues to strengthen its position as an economic driver in the UK with record growth in traffic during 2011. In line with previous years, overall vessel tonnage increased, with the port recording a 7 per cent rise, from 24.2 million gross tonnes in 2010, to 25.9 million gross tonnes in 2011.
The harbour’s central importance to oil and gas traffic in the North Sea was demonstrated by an increase in the number of support vessels utilising its facilities, with a rise from 5,122 in 2010, to 5,421 in 2011, contributing to the 4 per cent growth in overall vessel numbers, from 7,467 to 7,784, across the same period.
Cargoes were shipped through Aberdeen to and from locations including Africa, Russia and the Falkland Islands, with total throughput rising by 2 per cent, from 4.66 million tonnes in 2010, to 4.76 million tonnes in 2011. In addition to oil and gas shipping, timber, salmon feed and scrap metal shipments were among other cargoes bolstering the harbour’s strong performance, in addition to road salt and calcium carbonate slurry. The port continued to handle more than one million tonnes of refined oil products ensuring the continued supply of fuel for many in the region, including road vehicles, offshore locations and vessels. Passengers using the regular ferry link increased slightly, with in excess of 150,000 people travelling between Aberdeen and the Northern Isles.
Chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, Colin Parker, said: “These strong results highlight the key role the port plays in terms of its contribution to both the regional and national economy. We are delighted with the excellent performance, with signs already pointing at these high levels of activity continuing across 2012.
“The harbour has maintained vital global links through our regular scheduled international shipping services, which were further bolstered last year through the introduction of a circular freight service between North Russia, Norway and Holland. Coupled with the growing importance of our African traffic, these relationships are a key contributor to the success of the port. We hope to further enhance these services over the next 12 months.
“Despite the positive news, we are not complacent,” Mr Parker concluded. “We will invest upwards of £24 million this year in order to support the trend for increasing vessel sizes, primarily associated with oil and gas activity, and new business streams such as renewable energy projects and decommissioning.”