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Caithness port has fifth consecutive record-breaking trading year


By Gordon Calder


Ferry, fishing and energy-related activities were the best performers at Scrabster harbour.
Ferry, fishing and energy-related activities were the best performers at Scrabster harbour.

SCRABSTER harbour is on the crest of a wave after a fifth record-breaking trading year in a row.

Figures released at the trust's annual general meeting for the year ended March 2019 show pre-tax profit rose from £1.12 million to £1.26m and turnover increased by £312,000 to £3.917m.

The results mean record revenue performance for a fifth successive year, trust manager Sandy Mackie said. He pointed out that the harbour plans to expand its activities with the redevelopment of the St Ola Pier.

There was growth across most trading sectors, he said, with ferry, fishing and energy-related activities being the best performers.

The number of vessels arriving at the port increased by eight per cent to 2480, while overall vessel tonnage rose by two per cent to 8.512 million tonnes.

The number of passengers carried on the ferry service to Orkney went up by four per cent to 153,530. More than 355,000 boxes of fish were landed at the port – an increase of 21 per cent. Oil and gas-related activity and tonnage rose by 14 and nine per cent respectively.

The trust also heard about the progress on plans to attract larger cruise ships and energy trade by redeveloping the St Ola pier.

We would not be able to deliver these results without the strong partnerships with the businesses and organisations that use the facilities.

Tender prices for the multimillion-pound project are expected shortly, with works expected to begin early in 2020.

The project has been boosted by the award of £5 million from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the largest Scottish socio-economic award ever made by the agency. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has committed a further £3 million of project funding, which was confirmed in the summer.

Mr Mackie said: "The accounts for 2018/19 are the strongest trading performance ever achieved by the harbour. The financial performance and previous growth provides the foundation for further port development, bringing increased economic value to the local and regional economy.

"The awards from the NDA and HIE underline the support for these plans and we hope to make progress in 2020."

He added: "We would not be able to deliver these results without the good and strong partnerships with the businesses and organisations that use the facilities. We would like to thank the local businesses and users of the harbour for their contribution to the harbour’s growing success."



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