Montrose Harbour’s new £8.5 million deep water berths were opened officially yesterday (Tuesday) by transport minister Keith Brown, marking “a new chapter” in the port’s history.
The event held at the south quay also marked the 175th anniversary of the making of the Montrose Harbour Order, which created the Montrose Harbour Trust, now Montrose Port Authority.
Chief executive John Paterson this week said the investment, which was partly funded with £3.2 million from the Scottish Government’s Freight Facilities Grant (FFG), has already helped to create additional business for the port in terms of both cargo and business from the oil and gas industry.
The berths have been dredged to a depth of eight metres to accommodate larger vessels.
Mr Paterson said: “New business has been attracted to the port adjacent to the deeper berths, particularly through customers recognising opportunities for marine transportation of grain and oilseed crops exports, marine fuel exports and imports and cement imports.
“Existing customers have now improved opportunities for exporting and importing fertilisers, scrap metals, wood pulp, roundwood logs, sawn timber, paper rools, steel and other general cargoes.
“The largest increases in shipping to date has arisen through the offshore oil and gas sector which has recognised services at Montrose to be less congested than some alternative oil and gas ports. Service companies to this sector are investing heavily in shore-based services for marine gas oil, logistics support, chemicals, water and other essential supplies.
“Danbor Ltd., a subsidiary of A.P. Moller Maersk Group, has entered into open and covered storage leases from MPA on deep water berths’ quaysides.”
Mr Paterson also said that the major investment in a grain drying and storage facility by Angus Cereals Ltd now allows for direct access to European markets with capacity already increased to 40,000 tonnes for this year’s harvest and further increases planned.
Welcoming the addition of the port’s new facilities, Mr Brown said he was proud of the Scottish Government’s involvement in the scheme.
He said: “I am proud that we have been able to play a pivotal role in delivering a project that will remove around one million lorry miles a year from our roads and generate £4.5 million worth of environmental benefits for Scotland.
“In addition to supporting our wider determination to encourage the transfer of freight from roads to water or tail, the development will also mean major benefits and spin-offs for the local economy here in Angus.
“Since 2007 over £13 million has been invested in new freight facilities, removing in excess of 42 million lorry miles from our roads, and there is much more to come. Protecting the environment, creating jobs and securing existing employment remain key priorities for this Government.”