Port of Aberdeen

Princess Royal unveils £420 million Aberdeen Port expansion

The Port of Aberdeen, the UK’s oldest business, now boasts the country’s newest harbor, signaling a vibrant future for energy, trade, and tourism in Scotland’s journey towards net zero emissions.

Image credit Port of Aberdee

Namely, the port’s £420 million (USD 514 million) expansion project was officially inaugurated on Friday, September 22.

The expansion of the Aberdeen South Harbour has made the Port of Aberdeen the largest berthage port in Scotland. The new facility, next to the Energy Transition Zone, can accommodate vessels up to 300m in length, and the project has added 1.5km of deepwater berths, a maximum depth of 15m, 125,000 sqm of flexible project areas, and significant heavy lift capacity.

The expanded port is a recognized development under the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4.

Independent analysis suggests that this expansion will catapult the port’s Gross Value Added contribution by 60% to an impressive £2.4 billion and increase job opportunities by 45%, supporting around 17,500 jobs.

The port authorities said that the new harbor has already generated over £3 million in revenue during its phased opening and is attracting vessels and projects that would have previously bypassed the city, often bound for European ports.

The expansion project was significantly self-funded by the port with valuable support from the European Investment Bank, Scottish National Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise, and Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council through the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

“The Port of Aberdeen is at the forefront of the vital transition to net zero. It will be key to helping pivot our economy towards new decarbonised technologies and fuels, not least in facilitating the growth in offshore wind and developing tidal wave research,” Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said.

“Aberdeen South Harbour has the potential to capitalise on the existing, strong energy supply chain located in the North East of Scotland.”

The expansion project was inaugurated by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne is the second child and only daughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Image credit: The Port of Aberdeen

“The South Harbour expansion is a significant moment for the net-zero energy transition and these new facilities are set to bring major opportunities to not only the Port of Aberdeen but all of north-east Scotland.”

“Scotland’s ports will play a crucial role in supporting the delivery of a cleaner, greener energy system and they will all need significant investment to support the enormous ambition shared by government and industry for developing offshore wind projects in Scotland’s seas,” Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said.

“We urge The Scottish and UK Governments to urgently invest in our port infrastructure, mirroring the level of ambition displayed at Aberdeen, to ensure we have the necessary supply chain and manufacturing bases required for mass offshore wind deployment by the end of this decade.”

Image credit: The Port of Aberdeen

“The opening of Aberdeen South Harbour marks a huge step in the race for us to become a net zero economy. The Harbour has supported the region for over 880 years, and this expansion will allow our world-class energy industry to take on new projects and spark crucial investment in the North Sea for decades to come,” David Whitehouse, OEUK’s CEO, said.

“We are accelerating homegrown greener technologies like wind, carbon storage and hydrogen, however at the same time supporting our oil and gas sector. Aberdeen South Harbour will provide a fantastic asset for the region, for Scotland, and the wider UK.”

The Port of Aberdeen is targeting net-zero emissions from vessels visiting the port, as well as the port’s own operations, by 2040.

As part of this mission, the port aims to invest £55 million over the next 10 years to become the UK’s first net-zero port by 2040.

The introduction of shore power at scale, starting with first power at three berths in 2024, and facilitating low carbon alternative fuels for client vessels are expected to generate significant reductions in emissions in the years to come.

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Earlier this month, the port announced that it had won funding from the UK Government to design and deliver the first large-scale landside and vessel-side shore power system in Scotland.

The multi-million pound demonstrator project is expected to cut vessel emissions at the berths by more than 80% compared with burning marine fuel and save in excess of 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the next 20 years.