Montrose Port are finding reasons to stay upbeat despite the global uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as they play their part in keeping the supply chain moving and community spirits lifted.
The Port has seen a 33% increase of general cargo coming through the port in the first quarter of 2020. This is mostly made up of agribulk which is unloaded and transported across Angus and Aberdeenshire. General cargo has traditionally been 30% of activity at the port so this is a big increase and a welcome upturn in tonnage at this time.
The port is also the first in the UK to transition to a cloud based software system ION Marlin SmartPort which allows port control to be controlled remotely. The transition to digital working was made at the start of the year and has been invaluable during this time as staff can now work from home, with the exception of pilots who still go out to bring ships in. It also means that social distancing protocols are followed as safely as possible.
Work has also started on the initial phases of the operations and maintenance base at the Port which will service the new Seagreen offshore wind farm. The Port were awarded a 25- year contract at the end of last year by SSE Renewables and when completed this will be Scotland’s largest facility of its type. The Port hopes to make announcements shortly about the project which will bring significant economic benefit to the supply chain and local economy.
Chief executive officer, Captain Tom Hutchison said “ In these uncertain times it’s great to be able to identify positive things that are happening at the port. Despite this being a difficult time we are dedicated to keeping port activities flowing as smoothly as possible in order to keep the supply chain moving.
“We have also become somewhat of a focal point for the community on Thursday evenings as ships’ horns ring out in chorus with clapping and cheers from across the town to show support for our NHS and key workers.
“What started as a one off event to show support has now turned into a weekly occurrence that people listen out for. To further demonstrate our support we have also flown a flag above the Port thanking the NHS for all they are doing. This can be seen from various points across Montrose and echoes the sentiments of the whole community".
The Port will also take part in VE celebrations this Friday organised by the Royal Navy. All vessels across the UK are being asked to sound their sirens at 1500, followed by flash light serials at 2200. The Port office will also fly its Red Ensign flag as a mark of respect.