What is a Trust Port

Aberdeen Harbour is one of approximately 100 Trust Ports in the UK. As a statutory body, created by an Act of Parliament, a Trust Port is fully independent, run by a Board for the benefit of its stakeholders and governed by its own local legislation. A Trust Port is not controlled by a local authority, nor is it a private business.

Aberdeen Harbour Trust Port

It is the duty of Trust Board members and employees to pass the port on in the same or better condition to succeeding generations.  In other words, it is our responsibility to safeguard and improve the port, so it flourishes and creates prosperity for local communities and businesses. 

Unlike a privately-owned port, we have no shareholders who require a dividend.  All ‘profit’ of surpluses made from operations are reinvested into the operation, maintenance, and administration of the port.

Our success as a Trust Port has been clear since becoming a Trust in 1961.  We can operate in a commercial environment with no direct public funding, while competing in the open market with private and local authority-owned facilities that represent the vast majority of the UK’s ports.

With trading links to more than 40 countries worldwide, Aberdeen Harbour generates in excess of £1.5billion GVA annually. (British Ports Association 2021)

Continuous Improvement

A long-term view is at the heart of everything we do at Aberdeen Harbour. We are committed to constantly improving and modernising harbour assets, services and infrastructure for the benefit of all our stakeholders. Major infrastructure projects can be undertaken with greater confidence and often with greater clarity than in other areas of the private sector. A Trust Port is also free from shareholder pressure, and traditionally, Aberdeen Harbour has refrained from increasing harbour rates above inflation unless it has had a specific harbour-related improvement reason for doing so.


There are many, many stakeholders of a Trust Port, playing an intrinsic role in operational matters and also shaping how the port is perceived in the local community. Stakeholders have a crucial role to play in driving Aberdeen Harbour forward. By working together, the board and stakeholders can deliver a vibrant, prosperous port that will provide a bright and secure future for many generations to come.

*(Modern Trust Ports for Scotland – a guide to good governance).