Port of Cromarty Firth will invest GBP 30 million in a new quayside expansion, the port announced shortly after revealing its GBP 10 million contract for Moray East offshore wind farm.
The 218m quayside, along with 9 acres of laydown area, has been designed as a new energy and cruise hub, and will generate over 140 new jobs across the Highlands and Islands, according to the port.
This will be the second quayside and laydown area built by the Port of Cromarty Firth in three years. In 2015/16, the Port invested GBP 25 million in a new 150m quayside and 9 acre laydown area.
Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: "There is a substantial demand for the services in the Port and, even with the large new quayside and laydown area finished in 2016, we still experience capacity issues. This new Energy and Cruise Hub will help us resolve these problems and open up the Port to being able to accommodate large scale projects from across all sectors."
Operational as of 2020, the new quayside will accommodate large-scale renewable, decommissioning and oil and gas projects, and will be able to berth the largest cruise ships currently being designed and built.
The expansion will be funded jointly by the Port and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), including support from the European Regional Development Fund, and with help from the commercial lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
"We believe this investment will be help bring new work to the area for decades to come. This is already starting, with last week’s announcement of the Moray East Offshore Windfarm contract," Bob Buskie said. "The team at the Port have been working for two years on this project and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Royal Bank of Scotland and, of course, our new partners Moray East."
HIE has approved GBP 7.75 million funding to the project over the coming years, with GBP 2.3 million of this total being contributed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and an application for a further GBP 800,000 ERDF funding is under consideration. The HIE package also includes GBP 2 million of additional funding from the Scottish Government.