Peterhead Port Authority is a trust port and an independent statutory body created by its own local legislation. The organisation was formed on 1st January 2006 following a merger of Peterhead Harbour Trust and Peterhead Bay Authority. The organisation is responsible for holding, managing, maintaining and developing the Port of Peterhead. All profits generated from operations are re-invested into the port for the benefit of stakeholders and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.
There has been a fishing harbour at Peterhead for more than 400 years and the success of the town has been closely linked to the level of trade using the harbour. The harbour experienced boom years associated with whaling, herring and white fish species. These were also very hard times when stocks were depleted, prices low or schemes imposed to decommission boats. However a series of strategic investments to provide modern and capable harbour facilities has now helped project Peterhead to being the largest fishing port in the UK.
During the late nineteenth century there was considerable concern at the loss of life and craft at sea. A plan to provide several Harbours of Refuge along the east coast of Britain was made, but the only Scottish development occurred at Peterhead. A male prison was constructed to provide convict labour to build the breakwaters, work on which started in 1886 and continued until completion in 1956, interrupted only by the two world wars.
By the time the harbour was completed, sail had given way to power and there was no longer a requirement for a Harbour of Refuge. The sheltered bay created by the breakwaters was little used until the discovery of oil in the North Sea. The strategic location of Peterhead made it an ideal centre for servicing the offshore oil and gas industry. The provision of purpose built support bases and deep water berthing has enabled Peterhead to develop its role as an important centre for this industry.
Today Peterhead is a versatile port which provides deep-water berthing for a broad range of industries including fishing, oil and gas, renewables, agricultural products and leisure. Users enjoy a prompt and efficient port call together with a positive approach to customer service.
Peterhead Port Authority operates mainly in a ‘landlord’ capacity, in that stevedoring operations are carried out by third parties. This work is undertaken by independent operators, the most prominent of which is ASCO. There is a staff of 63, led by the Chief Executive, Ian Laidlaw. These staff are involved with managing and operating the fishmarket, ship repair facilities, maintenance, vessel traffic services and administration functions.
The Authority operates and manages the port in a manner which maximises the benefits to existing and future stakeholders whist recognising that its primary responsibility is to ensure the long term success of the port itself.
As a public organisation it is expected that we listen and respond to what our stakeholders say. This is confirmed in our Mission Statement. We are continually seeking to strengthen our relationships with stakeholders through a policy of regular press releases on important happenings, distribution of our annual report and financial statement and carry out specific consultation on significant matters affecting the port or its stakeholders. Regular meetings are held with port users and local public agencies to discuss issues relating to the operation, development and use of the harbour. During the past year specific press releases have been issued about the success of Smith Quay, record fish landings and promoting the port to the renewable energy industry through Peterhead Energy Hub. Working groups met to consider the possibility of introducing an electronic auction system for the sale of fish at the market and to plan for implementation of an EU Directive requiring boxes of fish sold at the auction to be weighed.
Peterhead Port Authority recognises its obligation to take an active role in supporting the local community. For several years we have sponsored the main event in the annual Peterhead Scottish Week celebrations. In 2011 we sponsored a flying display by the ‘Red Arrows’ as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations for Scottish Week. The evening was particularly well received and attended by large crows appreciating the display.
The cost of staging the North of Scotland Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Aden Park has been underwritten for the past eleven years.
A close working relationship is maintained with the local Sea Cadets’ organisation. The group is provided with complimentary berthing for three vessels at Peterhead Bay Marina in order to facilitate regular water based training for their members.
The Authority hosts an annual harbour Open Day which is organised by the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen to help raise funds for the organisation. This event attracts several thousand visitors to the port and in 2011 raised substantial funds for the charity.
In addition to charitable donations, sponsorship and support advertising the port makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy. During 2011 the payment of rates, taxes and local payroll totalled over £2.75 million. In addition the success of our business in growing trade through the port has a tangible benefit to many business and individuals in Peterhead.
Properties were provided to Peterhead Photographic Society and the Family Heritage Society from which to base their activities and space provided to host a large exhibition of maritime and fishing heritage memorabilia.
Safety and the Environment
We are conscious of our obligations in relation to safety and environmental matters and demand a positive approach from all port users.
Ports are increasingly required to consider the potential impact that port operations and developments can have on the environment. The role of the port to service industrial traffic and facilitate trade can put pressure on the environment and potentially lead to conflict.
The Authority has detailed plans and procedures in place relating to Emergency Response, Waste Management and Prevention of Oil Pollution that are designed to minimise the effect of port operations on the environment. These plans are exercised regularly and involve companies and organisations who are listed as participants in the Plan.
The port was awarded the Eco Ports accreditation reflecting the quality of its efforts and procedures to protect the environment. Peterhead Fishmarket holds the British Retail Consortium award for storage and in July 2012 the port secured OHSAS18001 accreditation for the safety standards implemented.
During 2011 there was a total of 15 days lost by employees work related incidents, all of which resulted from a single trip event.
The Chief Executive is the Board’s designated Health and Safety representative and is charged with the responsibility to ensure that all such issues are properly addressed and attended to.