Maritime UK Week, a celebration of the country’s maritime sector and its vital role in our economy and our future, has been the perfect moment to reflect on what Aberdeen Harbour has achieved in 2020 and where we are going.
Throughout its history, Aberdeen Harbour has been vital to the city and region with this year being no exception. In the face of tumultuous challenges, the port has remained steadfast in its commitments, by keeping energy, goods and services safely flowing into homes, businesses, hospitals and transport systems and remaining uncompromising in its ambitions to be one of the best ports in the country.
Like many ports across the UK, we have faced challenges due to reduced activity caused by COVID-19, but we have worked quickly and proactively to support our customers and stakeholders. Our property tenants received emergency rent relief to help sustain them and the drive and commitment of our employees ensured that goods and supplies kept flowing into the city and country, to keep homes and businesses going.
It is undoubtedly still a challenging period, but we continue to look at ways we can use digitalisation and technology to remain as agile, flexible, and resilient as possible. The world is changing, and we are moving with it, by remaining open to a whole new world of possibilities. Our use of technology is helping us to be innovative in how we work but it is also a cornerstone in helping us to achieve our goal of becoming the UK’s greenest port.
Our region is also undergoing a transformational change to become a world-leading hub for net-zero and energy transition. It is our duty and honour to be the North-east’s gateway into this new world and with the South Harbour expansion, we will have an increased ability to accommodate major renewable energy projects, decommissioning work, cruise, and expanding international trade by providing unrivalled facilities for our customers.
The location of the proposed Energy Transition Zone – adjacent to the new harbour – will also help us all to realise the North-east’s potential. It will be a place where innovations and energy solutions are developed, to ensure Aberdeen becomes a global leader in the race to reduce carbon emissions.
Development of the South Harbour is continuing at pace and, once operational, it will also be key in realising new trading opportunities. The combined quayside of the North and South Harbours will make us the largest berthage port in Scotland unleashing the potential to lead the country’s international trading capability.
With the right support in place, Aberdeen Harbour can be an even more vital economic driver for Scotland and its future. In fact, by 2035 we could be contributing £0.9bn to the local economy and supporting more than 7,000 additional jobs. This year has shown that we cannot take anything for granted and with Brexit up on the horizon, now is the time to ensure we are positioned to grasp any opportunities in front of us.
The world has changed and will continue to do so, but we’re a port with big ambitions and as a Trust Port, it’s our purpose to create opportunities and prosperity for future generations – it guides everything we do. Aberdeen is one of the most successful ports in the UK, with a global reputation, and we are here to help realise Scotland’s economic and environmental sustainability for decades to come.