Further £6 million expansion for port

GREAT news for Montrose is that the Port Authority has issued a tender for the building of a new quay, 170 metres long, at the north side of the harbour.

There would be 30 metres of concrete hard-standing, which would also be a heavy lift area.

The estimated cost is in the region of £6 million, and the target completion date is September, 2014. Details of a necessary EU grant have still to be finalised.

The Port Authority has taken the view that with business booming, opportunities exist for attracting more vessels to the port.

John Paterson, the Port Authority’s chief executive, is quoted as saying: “The work will improve the access to the North Quay by providing it with a more modern and suitable structure with deeper water. It will make possible the more efficient use of the quay for imports and exports of fertilisers, wood pulp and recycling materials.

“They already use the North Quay but are subject to disruption.

“The upgrade will mean more trade in and out of the port.

“The new owners of the fertiliser blenders, Koch Industries and Origin Fertilisers, recognise the geographic significance of Montrose as yielding an opportunity to increase their throughput.”

The recent £8.5 million South Quay extension has paid dividends, with greatly increased traffic in the oil and gas sector, as well as grain exports from the recently completed silos. Phases one and two of the grain silos have been completed, and phase three is on the drawing board.

Annual tonnage through the port has recently grown from 1.4 million to 2 million tonnes.

A new cargo that has started to come in to Montrose is wind turbine sections, which are unloaded on to the quay where they can be stored until needed, then taken by road transport to their destination.

Mr Paterson said: “We have had discussions with the potential operators of the north end of the Forth Array, and inshore farms like Inch Cape.”

He added that Montrose has a good opportunity to participate in the operations and maintenance side of the industry.

Other, more traditional cargoes that are still dealt with in quantity are fertilisers, and wood pulp for paper-making.

Timber is also a regular cargo, with stacks piled up on the quays a familiar sight.

And on the morning that this article was being prepared, vehicles belonging to John Lawrie (Aberdeen) Ltd, the scrap metal reprocessor and steel trading company, were busily travelling back and forth between the port and their Forties Road base.

The port is well-placed to increase trade because of its potential additional capacity, and also the fact that Aberdeen and Peterhead are exceptionally busy with no additional room to expand.

Nigel Don, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said the port of Montrose was the jewel in the crown of the constituency.

He went on to say: “I am aware of what they are trying to do in the North Quay, and it will be really good to see opportunities for the port increase and benefit that part of Angus.”