Record-breaking investment for future success at Peterhead

The single biggest investment ever made by Peterhead Port Authority will transform the port, setting it on a strong path to future success.

In January 2017, the Port Authority signed contracts for a £51 million investment which will develop the harbour into a fully integrated, state-of-the-art fishing hub. The developments will include:

· Dredging the inner harbour to increase depth from 3.5 metres to 6.5 metres: this will allow all current fishing vessels access to land fish at any stage of the tide, critical to the efficiency of the port as volumes increase.

· Strengthening of surrounding quaysides.

· Widening the entrance, including shortening a jetty, to improve navigation in the inner harbour. The lift bridge, Queenie Bridge, will be dismantled and taken to nearby land for refurbishment and lengthening. The inner harbour entrance will be increased from 10. 5 metres to 16.5 metres and the lengthened bridge, an important second access to the port, will be replaced in February 2018.

· Building a new fish market providing 80% more floor space, with covered landing canopies for vessels discharging privately sold fish. Plans are also being considered for an adjacent seafood processing hub.

· Removing the current fish market at Merchants Quay, and dredging the berth to 7.5 metres to create a 180-metre deepwater and sheltered quay for commercial use.

· Using the dredged material from the inner harbour to reclaim land at Smith Quay, adding another 32,000 square metres to the current 16,000 square metres – creating a huge working area for NorSea’s operations. NorSea will operate the Smith Quay and Merchants Quay sites as one facility to provide a

centre of excellence serving the offshore sector, supporting the subsea, renewables and decommissioning markets.

“This major project will ensure that Peterhead Port remains at the forefront of the fishing industry and will enhance and diversify the range of berths for commercial vessels,” says Stephen Paterson, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, Peterhead Port Authority.

The project was granted £5 million of funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Scottish Government.


Peterhead has been a fishing harbour for nearly 400 years and there is no reason why there couldn’t be a fishing harbour here in another 400 years, says Stephen Paterson. “The current fish market is only 15 years old but already full to capacity and we are coping by stacking the boxes higher.

“From the previous decline and difficult times, the industry has seen a significant turnaround with a far more healthy stock position. Boats can make money and owners are investing in new vessels. There is a massive replenishment of the fleet with about £200 million worth of fishing vessels on order – both white and pelagic – and most of them will be landing here in Peterhead.”

The new development will help to consolidate the white fish landings into the port; a larger market will mean less stacking of boxes, and fish that is displayed to better effect can attract higher prices.


Relatively speaking, the offshore oil & gas sector could be seen as a ‘new arrival’ at Peterhead, developed along with the North Sea over the past four to five decades. “We have had 40 years of intense oil and gas activity here and we are confident that with decommissioning as well, we have at least another 40 years to come,” says Stephen Paterson.

“The development of Smith Quay was a huge success, creating £1.2 million turnover and subcontracted out to NorSea. This next project provides more space for NorSea to expand its oil and gas logistics activities.”

Norsea will take over Merchants Quay where the current fish market is, and use it for logistics, subsea and decommissioning. The reclamation at Smith Quay will create more land for handling larger projects, laydown and storage options.


Alongside the £51 million main development project, Peterhead Port Authority is to expand the marina for inshore fishing boats, also located in the inner harbour. The boats using the facility bring in crabs, lobsters and small line-caught mackerel – often these are one-person operations, and this development is an important example of the Port Authority providing and supporting economic opportunities for the local community.

Extract from: Peterhead Port Handbook 2017/18 – contact Compass for your copy

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