South Harbour expansion propels Port of Aberdeen to record profits

South Harbour expansion propels Port of Aberdeen to record profits

The Port of Aberdeen, the UK’s oldest business, has posted a £25.7 million operating profit, up from £21.3m, for the year 2023.

Buoyed by the opening of its transformational South Harbour expansion, the business achieved a 17% increase in turnover to £45.9m. Vessel arrivals were up 2% to 6,948 and vessel and cargo tonnage grew 6.5% to 29.5 million tonnes. Ferry passenger numbers climbed to 179,166, up 11%.

The South Harbour expansion has drawn substantial new business in energy, trade, and tourism sectors. The North Harbour maintained steady revenues from oil and gas activities and ferry services, while property rentals thrived at 79% occupancy rates.

Bob Sanguinetti, Port of Aberdeen CEO, said: “South Harbour was pivotal to delivering a record financial performance in 2023 as we welcomed large jack-up rigs, cargo vessels and cruise ships that would have previously sailed by the city.

“Our focus now turns to consolidating business with existing customers and securing opportunities to further diversify and grow in energy, trade, tourism.”

The port made significant progress on its journey to become the UK’s first net zero port by 2040, cutting its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 24% compared with the previous year. Aberdeen was also the only UK port to feature in three of the ten projects in the Department for Transport’s inaugural Zero Emissions Vessels & Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition.

The financial results were accompanied with a call for further support from the public and private sectors to achieve the full potential of the expanded port, which could support 17,500 jobs and contribute £2.4 billion Gross Value Added.

Mr Sanguinetti added: “We have invested almost half a billion pounds to ensure Aberdeen is world-class port that creates prosperity for generations. As the energy transition gathers pace, further partnership with government and industry can drive the nation’s economic growth and decarbonisaton.

“Floating offshore wind was in its infancy when the South Harbour expansion was planned. Today, with 17GW of projects approved off Scottish coasts, Aberdeen can become a leading hub for the assembly, integration, and maintenance of turbines.

“By upgrading this strategic asset, including a capital dredge project, Port of Aberdeen will support the transition of jobs and skills from oil and gas to renewables for decades to come.”

He continued: “Decarbonising ports and shipping is a significant challenge with no single solution. Through our net zero strategy, backed by up to £55m of investment, Aberdeen has a pivotal role to play.

“With further support, we can roll-out shore power across the port and accelerate collaboration on infrastructure for future green fuels. Incentives, investment, and supportive legislation will ensure that Aberdeen, along with ports across the country, can play their part on the road to net zero.

“Thanks to the foresight of our predecessors and the dedication of our port team, we are ideally positioned to partner with our public and private sector partners and compete for these transformative opportunities that will benefit Scotland and the wider UK economy.”

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