2018 figures show Aberdeen Harbour on the rise

Aberdeen Harbour has today announced increased activity levels in 2018 across vessel and cargo tonnage, arrivals and passengers.

The growing port saw a 5% rise in vessel tonnage compared to 2017, whilst cargo tonnage and offshore supply vessel tonnage increased by 3% and 6% respectively. The port also reported an increase in larger project vessels numbers, associated with offshore construction and decommissioning. These vessels increased, in terms of vessel tonnage, by 26% in 2018.

Matt North, commercial director at Aberdeen Harbour Board, said: “This is fantastic news for Aberdeen, and we are greatly encouraged to see our hard work rewarded in 2018.

“We embarked upon our ‘bring it back home’ initiative at the start of last year, with the intention of bringing the larger project vessels and other core oil and gas activity back into Aberdeen, and this has proved to be very successful.

“We enjoy the added benefit of having an incredibly collaborative relationship with the extensive network of specialist service providers that support harbour operations in Aberdeen, and this has allowed us to deliver repeat subsea-enabling and decommissioning campaigns with real efficiency and an ‘on time every time’ service. We believe that this has generated meaningful savings and value for our customers.”

The harbour also reported a 37% increase in vessel arrivals in 2018, 26% of which is attributed to small vessel activity supporting the South Harbour expansion project in Nigg Bay.

Matt North continued: “Our vessel arrival numbers have increased from 6,775 in 2017 to 9,266 in 2018. Our South Harbour construction project is making good progress, hence the high percentage of supporting vessels operating in and out of the North Harbour. Much of the remaining percentage can be attributed to Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm (EOWDC) operations, which we are delighted to accommodate.”

The port also experienced an increase in passenger numbers in 2018. Serco Northlink ferry passengers to and from the Northern Isles increased by 5% to more than 151,000 passengers, and cruise passenger numbers increased by 71% during the year.

John McGuigan, port operations manager, said: “In 2018 we welcomed our highest number of cruise vessel passengers ever, with the port welcoming just under three-and-a-half thousand passengers. During the year we also handled a number of ‘turnaround calls’ where passengers flew into Aberdeen Airport to commence their cruise voyage from the City.

“These results further reinforce the belief that Aberdeen is growing in popularity as a cruise and tourism destination. We are expecting similar levels of cruise activity in 2019 and, combined with the dozen cruise vessel bookings we already have for South Harbour in 2020, it is becoming clear to us that our cruise activity projections for the future will be realised, if not exceeded.”

Michelle Handforth, who joined Aberdeen Harbour Board in February 2018 as chief executive, added: “2018 proved to be a very healthy year in terms of activity, and without doubt this reflected a more positive outlook from the markets that we support. The marked increases in both project vessels and cruise passenger activity also illustrates the mixed portfolio of business that Aberdeen harbour is home to, supporting the widest customer base.

“We have also had a very successful year in terms of our construction project in 2018, and the footprint of the new harbour is really beginning to emerge from the sea and take shape. We aim, in 2019, to continue building upon this success. We have a new strategic framework in place, which is providing the organisation with added support and focus, as we move towards the opening of South Harbour in 2020. These are exciting times for our organisation and our customers and stakeholders, and we look forward to another successful year.”

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