New pier exceeds ‘all expectations’

PETERHEAD Port Authority’s new Smith Embankment has exceeded all expectations, according to chief executive John Wallace.

Mr Wallace said last week that for the first seven months 70 vessels had used the facility - far more than had been expected.

He told the Buchanie: “I think it has exceeded our expectations at this point. We did not expect it to take off quite as quickly as it has done as these things often take time, but it’s been much better than anticipated.

“The forecast is for it to continue to be busy and so on that front it’s really good news,” he said.

Mr Wallace said that one area of concern was the paving at the embankment, stating: “The paving there was a contract that was sub-contracted from the main contractor and was possible from savings made from the budget.

“The flagstones were laid in conditions outwith the specifications and will need to be replaced.

“Works are now underway to achieve this and should hopefully be completed by the end of July and will bring into contention around 7,000 square metres of land which we will lease and use,” he said.

Meanwhile, the port authority is also creating a new deep water berth at the Albert Quay.

“The roundhead has been removed and a 35m berth is currently being established which will be available by the end of July and this will have 10m of draught also,” said Mr Wallace.

“This will be a significant boost for the deepwater vessels utilising the port.”

Turning to the subject of the port’s planning application for the erection of two wind turbines, Mr Wallace said that things were moving along as expected.

“We are responding to some of the areas that require to be researched and so in that respect we are moving things along as best we can.

“It will probably go in for planning in the next month or so and until such time we will continue to work on the application.”

Mr Wallace said the port currently produces 2,000 tonnes of carbon a year and these turbines would reduce that considerably allowing Peterhead to become a carbon negative port.

“For a port to be able to say that is a major step forward,” he said.

The port has also seen marked improvements in fish landings in the first few months of the year.

Direct landings of whitefish for the year to-date to the market were up 669 tonnes and in value by round £4 million. However, consigned fish was down 1,250 tonnes and around £2 million in value, making the combined figure ahead by £2 million.

Shellfish volume was down slightly (70 tonnes) but up in value by around £7,000. Mackerel volume was up 1,581 tonnes and by around £6 million in value. However, herring and other species, principally blue whiting, were down by 21,000 tonnes and around £3 million in value due to the 93% cut in quota of blue whiting.

Mr Wallace said: “The massive cut in blue whiting quota accounted for the significant drop in overall tonnage landed from 75,223 to 55,102 tonnes. Fortunately, the higher value in all other species had increased the total value to date from £53.5 to £59.5 million with a corresponding increase in dues from around £1.308 to £1.468 million.”