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Record-setting year for Port of Inverness

By Calum MacLeod

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Inverness Harbour Trust chief executive Sinclair Browne.
Inverness Harbour Trust chief executive Sinclair Browne.

THE centuries old Port of Inverness has a key role to play in the future of the Highland economy, Scottish Government minister Fergus Ewing said.

Mr Ewing, cabinet secretary for rural economy and local MSP for Inverness and Nairn, was speaking at the Port of Inverness’ annual update at Inverness Caledonian Stadium.

Chief executive Sinclair Browne and chairman Angus Mackenzie were able to report on another record-breaking year for the harbour, whose history dates back to the 13th century.

This included a 20 per cent increase in tonnage handled to 759,000 tonnes and an increase in ship visits from 199 to 242. This helped overall turnover at the port to increase 37 per cent to £1.83 million and saw its cash surplus leap from £15,000 in 2018 to £403,000 by March this year.

Other records broken in 2018/19 included the longest load handled by the port in two 85m transformers for Tomatin Power Station, the largest number of complete wind turbines and a record throughput of timber with 120,000 tonnes both imported and exported.

Mr Browne also revealed the port had received further funding from cycling charity Sustrans for the second phase of the port’s plans for a maritime heritage trail, allowing it to progress to the design stage.

Talks were also continuing with other potential clients, including one which could result in up to 50,000 tonnes of goods being taken off the roads and moved by sea.

He said: “When I first came to Inverness, people told me the port was the bellwether for the local economy. It continues to be at the heart of the Highland economy.”

Mr Ewing congratulated the port on another successful year, and also said that the port could play an important part in supporting the efforts needed to combat the climate emergency such as reforestation and the development of renewable energy.

“The Highlands have an enormous set of opportunities over the next few decades. To tackle climate change, the things we need to do are things that can only or partly be done in the Highlands and rural Scotland,” he said.

“My job is to work with you to make things happen and try and get things done. If we can do that, the Port of Inverness, which has served Inverness for centuries and continues to do so, has a considerable amount to offer.”

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