finance

Aberdeen Harbour counts the cost of Covid-19



Aberdeen Harbour Board’s annual results have revealed a 16% decrease in vessel tonnage and 35% decrease in vessel arrivals.

This, combined with reduced ferry services and assistance provided to tenants, saw turnover fall 13% to £33m.

The port stated that it “undoubtedly” experienced significant challenges during the pandemic, but will focus on large-scale energy transition projects, new trade environments following Brexit and the potential benefits associated with Scottish Greenports.

Chief executive Michelle Handforth said: “Protecting our core business became our ultimate priority in 2020, as we, along with ports around the UK and the broader maritime industry, faced significant challenges due to a global reduction in shipping activity in the energy, ferry, cargo and cruise industries.

“We took critical measures to support and sustain our employees, customers and port users in the delivery of vital lifeline services, playing a significant role in the national effort to keep fuel, medical supplies and essential cargo on the move.

“We must now look to the future and work with our local and national partners to ensure maximum recovery in our associated sectors,” she added.

The port’s £350m expansion project is on track for phased completion in 2021 and into 2022.

Once complete, it will be the largest berthage port in Scotland, able to accommodate vessels up to 300 metres in length.

Handforth continued: “Our investment in the port’s expansion has never been more important – it will create new possibilities for Scotland and the UK’s industries, while underpinning the energy transition and bolstering international trade in a post-Brexit landscape.”

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In September, Bob Sanguinetti, the current chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, will take over from Handforth as chief executive.

Chairman Alistair Mackenzie said: “I have no doubt Bob will successfully lead the business forward into the next exciting chapter in its history.

“It is our ambition to be the port of choice for businesses around the world, and a key component of the ongoing economic development of both Scotland the UK.”

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