The expanded Aberdeen Harbour is hoping for a more significant share of  cruise vessels and larger c

The expanded Aberdeen Harbour is hoping for a more significant share of cruise vessels and larger commercial vessels

Planning consent has been granted for a £350 million (€411.93 million) project to expand facilities at Aberdeen Harbour, Nigg Bay, in north east Scotland, in the form of Marine Licences and a Harbour Revision Order by the Scottish Government, and the project has now sanctioned by Aberdeen Harbour Board.

The work will be carried out by Dragados UK – part of the Spanish-based ACS Group.

Following a detailed engagement process, Aberdeen Harbour Board, in partnership with Dragados UK, will develop facilities over the next three years that the Harbour Board said would represent “a step change in the marine support capabilities in Scotland”.

It said these would transform the port’s ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels witnessed across a whole range of industries.

It added that the expansion would enable existing customers to diversify and expand their interests, while 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.

Colin Parker, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said that there had been six years of detailed planning and extensive consultation with the many stakeholders and the regulatory authorities.

Chairman Alistair Mackenzie added, “Aberdeen Harbour has been in existence for almost 900 years. Its longevity can be attributed to its ability to adapt to changing trading requirements and being forward-thinking in delivering new and improved facilities to support its customers, while at the same time attracting new business.

“We believe that the infrastructure developed in Nigg Bay will encourage and support the continued prosperity of the city and region that the harbour serves, and make a significant national economic contribution”.

The development, which is part of the Scottish government’s Third National Planning Framework, is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Dragados UK was named as the board’s preferred bidder in September, and the company announced that it planned to start construction on site early this year.

The new facilities will include 1,400m of new quay, with a water depth of up to 10.5m, and will create an additional 125,000m2 of lay-down area.

An independent study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, estimated that the development would generate an additional £1 billion per annum to the economy by 2035, and would create an additional 7,000 equivalent jobs.

Funding arrangements for the project incorporated commercial borrowing from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and funding from the Aberdeen City & Region Deal. There was also support for the project’s feasibility study from Scottish Enterprise, and from the 2013 Annual Programme Call of the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme.

Jonathan Taylor, EIB vice president, said, “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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