Categories: Burntisland, Business, Forth Ports, Grangemouth, Kirkcaldy, Leith, Methil, RosythPublished On: 01.10.2021436 words2.3 min read

The Scotsman Big Interview: Forth Ports CEO Charles Hammond

Charles Hammond has since 2001 been chief executive of Forth Ports, the largest ports operator in Scotland, and the third-largest in the UK.

It owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee, and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, where the organisation is based, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.

Mr Hammond was awarded an OBE last year, saying he ‘personally found that quite humbling’.

Picture: Peter Devlin.

Forth Ports, which was established in 1967 as a port authority, has outlined its aim to create Scotland’s largest and best-located renewable energy hub on on a vast site at the Port of Leith, for example, while it recently revealed plans to conserve and restore the Category A listed Victoria Swing Bridge in Leith.

Mr Hammond has held many different roles in addition to Forth Ports, including having been a member of the Cabinet Secretary’s 2020 Vision for Health & Social Care, formerly serving as chairman of both SpaceandPeople Group, and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh, and currently chairing the United Kingdom Major Ports Group, for example. He was awarded an OBE last year for his services to the UK ports industry and business in Scotland.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of you becoming CEO of Forth Ports. How have your role and the organisation adapted over that time? What are your key goals?

Forth Ports today is significantly larger than it was 20 years ago. We’re very involved in what have become complex supply chains and emerging low-carbon industries and we’re much more conscious of the local communities in which we’re doing business. The organisation has grown very much through private investment but also through acquiring new skills, and decision-making is much more data-driven than it was 20 years ago.

The fundamentals of shipping and trade are still there but add to that the higher skill base, more digital sophistication, greater capital intensity and higher productivity.

Ports are great enablers because we have the visibility to see value being added to goods and to make connections between shipping lines, producers, distributors, forwarders and customers overall. Ports are facilitators for trade, for the export and import of goods, and, importantly, for the transition to net zero

You described 2020 as the “most challenging year” the business had ever faced – buffeted by Covid and Brexit – while also drawing attention to the role ports have had in transporting, say, medicines and food during the pandemic. What is your view on how Forth Ports has navigated post-March 2020 waters? . . . . . 

. . . . . continue reading the interview on The Scotsman website here