MEMBER NEWS: Expanded Port of Aberdeen’s multi-billion pound economic and jobs boost

September 25, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: Expanded Port of Aberdeen’s multi-billion pound economic and jobs boost

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal today (22 September 2023) officially opens Port of Aberdeen’s transformational £420 million expansion project, catalysing a multi-billion pound economic and jobs boost for Scotland.

Already an economic powerhouse for the region, independent analysis forecast that when the expanded Port of Aberdeen reaches its full potential the port’s Gross Value Added contribution will jump 60% to £2.4 billion and increase the number of jobs supported by 45% to an incredible 17,500.

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO, Port of Aberdeen, said:

“We’re honoured that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is joining us for this monumental occasion. Port of Aberdeen is the UK’s oldest business and we’re now officially opening the country’s newest harbour. Aberdeen’s expanded port promises a vibrant future for energy, trade, and tourism across Scotland on the road to net zero, unlocking new jobs and attracting investment to the region.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said:

“As the largest new marine infrastructure project in the UK, Port of Aberdeen’s South Harbour will have a huge positive impact on the North East of Scotland and will be a national asset of strategic significance to Scotland.

“The Port of Aberdeen is at the forefront of the vital transition to net zero. It will be key to helping pivot our economy towards new decarbonised technologies and fuels, not least in facilitating the growth in offshore wind and developing tidal wave research.

“Aberdeen South Harbour has the potential to capitalise on the existing, strong energy supply chain located in the North East of Scotland.”

Minister for Nuclear and Networks, Andrew Bowie, said:

“I am thrilled to attend the opening of the Aberdeen South Harbour – this is a staggering feat of British engineering excellence and I look forward to seeing the transformational impact it will have on the local area.

“Constructing the largest marine infrastructure project in Trust Port history shows this country’s ability to attract inward investment, delivering jobs, economic growth and prosperity to the local community while helping us achieve our climate goals.”

Jean Morrison, AREG chair said:

“AREG is very pleased to witness the major milestone for this transformational project, not just for the Port but for Aberdeen and the region. Having worked alongside the Port of Aberdeen for many years and visited the South Harbour at various stages of its development, we are excited to see the project come to fruition.

“The Port’s ambition to become the first net zero port in the UK is aligned with AREG’s mission to accelerate the transition and having a Port with the largest quayside length in Scotland will ensure our members can better access opportunities that accelerate the development and use of renewable energy.”

More than 250 stakeholders are attending the opening event on Dunnottar Quay which will be marked with The Princess Royal unveiling a plaque and ‘Octopode Accropode’ structure which was specially designed and painted by local street artist, Craig Fisher.

Upon her arrival, The Princess Royal will be welcomed by His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen David Cameron and Roy Buchan, Chair, Port of Aberdeen, followed by introductions to Bob Sanguinetti, CEO, Port of Aberdeen, ministers from the Scottish Government and UK Government, and Steve Murray, Port Chaplain for the Aberdeen Seafarer Centre.

During the event, The Princes Royal will engage with a wide range of people who helped take Aberdeen South Harbour from concept to completion, as well as representatives from the private, public and third sectors.

Port of Aberdeen’s continued commitment to supporting those most in need will be highlighted at the event with £30,000 of funding awarded to local charities and community group projects, such as Aberdeen Cyrenians, Aberdeen Science Centre and Befriend a Child. This takes the port’s charitable donations through its supPORT-all community action programme in 2023 to £70,000.

At the peak of construction, there were 300 people working onsite and more than 30 companies from across the North East of Scotland were involved in the construction of Aberdeen South Harbour. These local organisations played an instrumental role in the successful completion and benefitted from contact awards of £44 million since 2020, with a further £16 million of work delivered by companies across the rest of Scotland.

The new harbour has generated more than £3 million of revenue during its phased opening and is attracting vessels and projects that would have previously sailed past the city, often destined for a European port.

This increased activity in energy, trade and tourism supports local jobs, attracts local supply chain spend and investment, and the profits generated are reinvested back into the port to improve the facilities for future generations.

With Aberdeen South Harbour complete, Port of Aberdeen is the largest berthage port in Scotland. The new facility, next to the Energy Transition Zone, can accommodate vessels up to 300m in length, with port users and customer benefiting from an additional 1.5km of deepwater berths, to a maximum depth of 15m, 125,000sqm of flexible project areas and significant heavy lift capacity. The expanded port is a recognised development under the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4.

The expansion project was significantly self-funded by the port with valuable support from the European Investment Bank, Scottish National Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise, and Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council through the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

Roy Buchan, Chair, Port of Aberdeen, said:

“Today marks a new chapter in our almost 900 years of history. Aberdeen South Harbour is transformational for the port, local communities, the supply chain and wider region. We look forward to working with our partners across the private sector and public sector to maximise the potential of this new facility.”

Chair of the City Region Deal Joint Committee Cllr Anne Stirling, said:

“The expansion of Aberdeen Harbour has significant implications across the city, the shire, the City Region Deal area. It is a project which really represents joint working, in the interests of the users of the South Harbour now and in future. That is why City Region Deal investment in the project was so important, allowing us another avenue to progress our net zero ambitions, expanding and increasing the tourism markets into the North east via the cruise vessels, investing in the surrounding infrastructure and road network. On behalf of the whole Joint Committee I would like to welcome the inauguration and look forward to many years of positive working to come.”

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise