Aberdeen Harbour expansion study launched
A major feasibility study has been launched into the possible expansion of facilities at Aberdeen Harbour.
The harbour board said the move had been prompted by continued growth in traffic and cargo and an increase in vessel sizes.
The harbour offers trading links to more than 40 countries, and is a major port for the oil and gas sector in the North Sea and West of Shetland.
Initial findings from the study are expected in the new year.
Aberdeen Harbour currently handles about five million tonnes of cargo, worth about £1.5bn a year, for a wide range of industries.
The study will explore the future requirements of present and future port users and examine the potential for expansion.
Harbour chief executive Colin Parker said: "Over the last 10 years we have witnessed considerable growth in the size of ships using the port and there is scope for even larger vessels requiring berths in the future.
"In recognition of this, and following numerous approaches from customers, the board has decided that this is the appropriate time to investigate new options that will allow us to continue to offer high standards of facilities for any increase in activity, as well as being able to encourage new traffic flows."
Mr Parker said the board had already invested heavily in existing infrastructure - most recently at Torry Quay, where work has been continuing on deep water berthing and a "modern fit-for-purpose quayside".
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bob Collier said he welcomed the study.
"The harbour plays an important role in the export performance of the region, and we look forward to helping Aberdeen Harbour Board in their efforts to grow the city's offering to the offshore industry and to the other important sectors which rely on a world class port," he added.