2014 delivers growth at Aberdeen harbourNews // April 28, 2015
Aberdeen Harbour has recorded a total gross vessel tonnage figure in excess of 28 million tonnes for the third year in succession and an increase in vessel arrival numbers.
In announcing results for 2014, Aberdeen Harbour Board confirmed a total gross vessel tonnage figure of 28.1 million tonnes, the equivalent of almost 80,000 tonnes of shipping per day entering the port.
The harbour also witnessed a 1.3 per cent increase in the total number of vessel arrivals, increasing from 7,834 in 2013 to 7,937 in 2014.
All this activity has contributed to a turnover figure of £28.9million, up from £27.6 million, and a pre-tax profit of £12.4 million, an increase of 29 per cent from £9.6 million in 2013.
The port also continues to experience year-on-year growth in international trade, with 2014 activity increasing by 12 per cent on the previous year and the number of countries with which the harbour directly trades increasing to 41 in 2014. Among the new routes, the Falkland Islands alone saw more than 40,000 vessel tonnes and 10,000 tonnes of predominantly oil and gas-related cargo.
Aberdeen Harbour chief executive Colin Parker, said: “Activity at the port remained strong throughout 2014 and, in particular, we are pleased to see the development of further international links and the continued strength of both our UKCS-related and commercial cargo markets.
“Activity to date in 2015 also remains buoyant. Quarter one activity for 2015 is four per cent ahead of the same period last year, in terms of vessel arrivals, and five per cent up in terms of shipping tonnage. It remains to be seen whether further increases in these figures are possible, given the demand for available capacity within the port, and vessel tonnage figures may well continue to plateau due to our inability to accommodate any further increases in volume or vessel size for this reason.
"As such, we remain committed to investigating expansion opportunities in Nigg Bay. In order to develop the plans, the Board continues with a major consultation programme with its key stakeholders, to assess all possible opportunities that the development of additional facilities may have.”
Simultaneously, technical, economic and environmental assessments are being finalised. Subject to all necessary consents and Board approval, Aberdeen Harbour could be inviting tenders during 2016 and construction could commence in early 2017 with a view to full completion by 2020–21.
“One of the real positives about being a Trust Port,” he continued, “ is our ability to focus on the long term, so although fluctuations in the oil price can have an effect on our short term activity, the need to expand and to create the appropriate, modern, deep-water facilities required to capture and retain new markets in the long term remains an imperative.
"Aberdeen Harbour has to continue its evolutionary journey to ensure that it stays technically relevant and able to accommodate ever larger commercial and subsea vessels, to play a key role in new markets such as the burgeoning cruise industry, and to capture a share of the immense volume of activity that will be stimulated by decommissioning.”
In line with this, 2014 was one of the busiest years for Aberdeen Harbour for scrap imports and exports, with a 26 per cent increase in shipments from 126,204 tonnes to 160,039 tonnes.
Other business streams also remained strong, with the government-funded Serco Northlink passenger and freight services to Orkney and Shetland continuing to thrive, and dry bulk activity showing a significant increase. In particular, exports of bulk barley were up by 288 per cent from 21,311 tonnes to 82,761 tonnes.