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Deficit up but port weathers the storm

By SPP Reporter

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Harbour chief executive Murdo Macleod, who is standing down
Harbour chief executive Murdo Macleod, who is standing down

INVERNESS Harbour is hoping to tap into the tourist market following the visit of the first cruise ship to the port for several years.

The MV Hebridean Princess berthed on Sunday for two nights while its 50 passengers visiteding Culloden Battlefield and Fort George, a move welcomed by harbour master Ken MacLean.

“It’s been a number of years since a cruise ship berthed at Inverness Harbour and we’re delighted to see that Inverness is back on the luxury cruise map,” he said.

“With our improved facilities at the harbour and the new quay we are ideally placed to handle small cruise ships. We hope to welcome many more in the future, bringing economic benefits, not just to the harbour, but to the city of Inverness as a whole.”

The leisure market is playing an increasingly important part in the harbour trust’s operations, with its recently constructed marina 99 per cent full and attracting leisure craft from around the world.

However, further developments are being delayed by a difficulty in attracting investors.

“The global economic downturn has meant the second phase has not progressed as quickly as originally envisaged,” chief executive Murdo MacLeod acknowledges in his final report before retiring.

“We continue to look for a partner to develop the harbour area with us, bringing a mixture of shops, offices, leisure facilities, restaurants and a hotel.”

Investment at the marina and the new North Longman Quay pushed the trust further into the red in 2009

The number of ships using the port rose to 254 from 225 in 2008

Imports of processed timber, animal feed, frozen fish and round logs all increased, while exports of wood chips and grain also rose. But volumes of its largest cargo, fuel oils, fell for the fourth year in succession to 383,000 tonnes compared to 415,000 over the previous 12 months.

“Economic conditions have inevitably made this a challenging year for the whole industry but Inverness has continued to perform steadily and much better than many similar facilities,” said trust chairman Rod Michie.

Inverness Harbour Accounts 2009/2010 (2008/09 figures in brackets)

Turnover: 1,063,316 (£1,033,162)

Costs and Overheads: £1,050,757 (£964,447)

Operating Surplus: £12,559 (£68,715)

Investment income: £7,301 (£2,490)

Interest payable: £73,723 (£107,757)

Loss on sale of assets: £0 (£2,335)

Deficit: £53,863 (£38,887)

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