Aberdeen Harbour Board has awarded a £5.2m contract involving major improvements to the port entrance and for widening and deepening the navigation channel.
Harbour Board chief executive, Colin Parker said: “As the centre of activity for the energy industry’s marine operations in North-west Europe, the importance of targeted investment and development has been a top priority and, with the energy industry evolving, we have worked hard to ensure we stay ahead of the game.
”Once completed this work will be of great benefit to our customers and should enable us to be involved in new markets such as offshore wind turbine deployment. Every effort will be made to ensure the harbour continues to function during the works at a time when we are experiencing record levels of activity.”
The contract – awarded to the Westminster Dredging Company – will involve a combination of dredging techniques and has been commissioned to ensure the harbour continues to meet the needs of future users, with larger vessels now becoming an increasingly regular fixture at the port.
The deeper entrance to the port should also assist in addressing the occasional disruption to traffic movements during periods of easterly gales.
The design, nature and timing of the works have evolved in full consultation with a wide cross-section of stakeholder groups to minimise potential disruption and the project has been licensed by Marine Scotland.
Aberdeen City Council director of enterprise planning and infrastructure, Gordon McIntosh, said: "This is a very exciting time for Aberdeen Harbour with many new developments and improvements to look forward to which will maintain its status as a world-class port. The harbour is the main commercial port for the north-east of Scotland and the principal port in Europe for marine support of the North Sea's oil and gas industry so therefore plays a vital role in the UK economy.
“Significant investment at the harbour is hugely positive for the city as a whole and once complete these developments will enable the port to support larger projects both on land and offshore. We will continue to work with Aberdeen Harbour to ensure that it can continue to play a central role in Aberdeen's economic success."
Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councillor Barney Crockett, convener of the Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Committee, added: "Aberdeen Harbour is a world-class port and a key element in the city's economy. The versatility of facilities and diversity of traffic makes the harbour a unique yet crucial component in the transport infrastructure of the north and north-east of Scotland and a vital hub for the offshore oil and gas industry. This is a significant development for Aberdeen and one which will ensure the potential of harbour land and property is optimised in order that facilities are available for operation, expansion and potential new business in years to come. For hundreds of years the council and harbour authorities have worked together. On the council we recognise how important this partnership is and greatly welcome this fresh investment."
The project has now commenced with an anticipated completion by early October.