Record Activity for Peterhead Port Authority

In 2014 Peterhead Port Authority achieved a record for the highest value of fish handled - £171’million was achieved, retaining its position as the top fishing port in the UK, with £88’m of this representing white fish species such as cod and haddock. Mackerel remained the most important species with landings of 85,000 tonnes valued at £64’m. Landings in 2015 have remained strong. The first part of the year was impacted by the devastating fire at Northbay Pelagic in January which prevented the company processing fish. The site is now operational again and much credit must be given to the senior management in creating a world class facility in such a short time.

A record tonnage of commercial shipping was also achieved with 12,000,000 gross tonnes of shipping. The main growth was in the number of port calls by offshore oil related vessels, but other trades also contributed to the total. Since then there has been a slight reduction in oil related traffic as the industry adjusts to the challenges of a lower oil price.


Plans are progressing for a £49 million investment in Peterhead Port to ensure it remains at the forefront of the fishing industry and to enhance and diversify the range of berths for commercial vessels. It is hoped that the development can get underway in mid-2016 and be completed by the end of 2017.


The project will develop the harbour into a fully integrated, sate-of-the-art fishing hub. The developments include constructing a much larger fishmarket to cater for continued growth in this sector. The current fishmarket at Merchants Quay will then be removed and the berth dredged to 7.5 metres. This will create a 180 metre long deepwater and sheltered quay, supported by 14,000 square metre adjacent working area for use by commercial vessels.


The new fishing hub, created in the inner harbours will bring together all of the services and facilities required by the industry. A 9,000 box capacity chilled market will be complemented by covered landing canopies for vessels discharging privately sold fish. Facilities will be integrated to handle discards and plans are under consideration for an adjacent seafood processing hub. It is also hoped to incorporate a facility for market visitors to promote locally caught fish.


Merchants Quay is located adjacent to Smith Quay, which has successfully handled a wide range of projects for the offshore oil and gas industry. These two facilities will complement each other to provide a centre of excellence for handling projects associated with the subsea, renewables and decommissioning markets. The development includes reclaiming a further 20,000 square metres at Smith Quay, creating more land for handling larger projects, laydown and storage options. An agreement was completed with NorSea Group, a significant provider of quayside facilities in the Norwegian oil and gas sector. They now operate the Smith Quay site, bringing investment and expertise to the port and providing clients with a choice of service provider at Peterhead.


Smith Quay has proven to be a very convenient location for mobilising projects. Clients get a significant advantage from the adjacent secure storage space. The site is popular for quayside fabrication with companies using the space for completing large spool pieces, building cable lay systems and refurbishing reels and tensioners. Large or heavy items can also be stored close to the berth for the duration of a project, thus avoiding high costs for double handling and the delays of arranging road transport off the port. 


Peterhead's strategic location on the east coast of Scotland means that it is ideally placed to service the offshore oil and gas industry. ASCO's investment in the port in 1974 developed the North Sea's first dedicated Oil Service Base, with the port playing a leading role in the search for oil. The company remains the ports largest client, handling logistical support for many offshore installations. They were recently successful in securing the marine logistics contract from Statoil which will be serviced through Peterhead from 2017.


John Wallace, Chief Executive of Peterhead Port Authority, said “These strategic proposals for the introduction of state-of-the-art facilities will inject fresh confidence into the fishing and processing industry and help us further position the port as the premier fishing port in Europe. All aspects of the development will have a tremendous impact on the port, town and wider business community.


A recent study by Biggar Economics looked at the impact that Peterhead Port had on the local, regional and national economy. It was calculated that trade through the port contributed £0.8 billion annually to the economy and supported nearly 10,000 jobs. Most jobs were associated with the fishing industry, but greatest gross value added was associated with oil and gas operations.


Stephen Paterson, Deputy Chief Executive commented that success over the past 40 years has been achieved through a combination of having the right infrastructure combined with the safe and effective material handling and logistics skills to ensure an efficient service. The current development plans will help ensure that this success can continue for many decades.


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Details of fish to be sold at next auction
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