Port could benefit from new trade link

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PETERHEAD port could benefit from increased trade as a new shipping route opens up,

Rising sea temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean has meant that a shipping route normally frozen for most of the year could be clear for ships to pass.

At the rate the ice is melting, the new link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans could open up all year round by 2030.

The Northern Sea route would cut fuel bills and shorten transport times between ports in the Far East and Europe by up to 40%.

Transport traffic is currently routed through European ports in Germany and the Netherlands but could be rerouted via the North-East, creating a surge of trade for both Peterhead and Aberdeen.

Chief executive of Peterhead Port Authority, John Wallace, said they were already looking at ways in which Peterhead could benefit from possible new trade links.

He said: “If The Northern Sea Route, as well as new routes through Canada and over the Bearings Straight to China, become viable sea routes, feeder ports will be required.”

“This, of course is good for the world and good for economics as it saves fuel and creates less emissions, but it could also be good for Peterhead.”

“The board is aware of the possibilities surrounding this and it will be incorporated into our master plan. We will look at how we can be a favourable port, be it through the supply of equipment or fresh water. Support facilities will be required. Large transport vessels are ‘fully bunkered’ for long passages but could require emergency supplies.”

“We are looking at the import of carbon capture equipment and supplies into Peterhead and if we could handle that type of traffic, then we could certainly handle an increase in traffic from a new trade route.”