New marine operations centre commissioned at Aberdeen HarbourNews // October 6, 2006
The commissioning of Aberdeen Harbour’s new Marine Operations Centre marks another significant step forward in developing facilities to accommodate increasing and diversified traffic, claims the harbour authority.
It has been brought into use at a time of record activity at the port which is on course to handle annual cargo of more than 5 million tonnes this year for the first time.
The £4.5 million Centre at the North Breakwater houses the latest Vessel Traffic Services systems for monitoring and directing ships; an upgraded ship’s bridge training simulator; training room; an emergency response room, and other facilities.
The landmark building was designed by SMC Parr Architects and constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine, with the design reflecting a traditional Scottish lighthouse supporting a modern glass structure. It succeeds the “Roundhouse” Navigation Centre, in operation for more than 200 years.
"By employing state-of-the-art technology and integrating various aspects of operations at a single location, the Centre brings further important improvements to the management of the port and provides capacity for future growth in traffic," said Aberdeen Harbour Board Chief Executive, Colin Parker.
The Centre is one of three major projects at the port this year as part of a £44 million five-year development and maintenance budget.
In March, the £4.75 million reconstruction of Albert Quay West was completed, adding to the deepwater berths which have been a catalyst in recent years for larger vessels to use the port where the annual volume of shipping has passed 21 million tonnes.
At Point Law Peninsula, 20,000 square metres of surfaced area are being created to support a wide range of operations. The availability of quayside marshalling areas is another factor attracting increasing traffic, including the recent introduction of timber exports.
Mr Parker commented: "The Board’s continuing investment in developing the port and its contribution to the economy adds emphasis to our recent submission to the Scottish Executive’s Review of Ports Policy in which we stressed the need for policies safeguarding land adjacent to ports for transport-related uses.
"For example, port users and rail freight operators have again recently expressed serious concern over the plans to close the adjacent rail freight yard at Guild Street to make way for a retail and leisure development."
"The submission also highlights maritime interests’ growing concerns over the detrimental impact proposals for a windfarm in Aberdeen Bay may have on the safety of shipping operations