PORTS REVIEW 2021
IN BUSINESS, timing is everything, and this is certainly true for Montrose Port where the integration of the ION Marlin SmartPort system could not have been timed better for assisting with remote working during the pandemic.
“As the first port in the world to utilise this software, we’re now able to see vessel movements online and respond accordingly,” says authority’s Chief Executive and Harbour Master, Captain Tom Hutchison.
“This means the majority of staff have continued to work remotely throughout the pandemic, with marine personnel planning arrivals and departures in the comfort of their own homes, allowing us to reduce onsite time wherever possible.”
The port is looking to extend the software integration into its operations in 2021, in particular with vessel billing, as it looks to capitalise on streamlining processes by embracing advancements in technology.
He points out: “Supply chain efficiency is a key deliverable for our stakeholders and one we take very seriously as we continue to support more than 300 full-time, permanent jobs directly and indirectly through Montrose Port.”
The improvement of real-world infrastructure is equally important, and construction is well underway on the operations and maintenance base for Seagreen Wind Farm, with facilities located on the South Quay. These will incorporate a repurposed oil and gas office building, a warehouse, communications tower and a pontoon for crew transfer vessels.
“The repurposed office building aligns perfectly with our vision to reduce our carbon footprint and become Scotland’s greenest port,” he says.
“The foundations are being laid for the facility, with local contractor Pert Bruce Construction having been awarded the project – safeguarding up to 30 jobs. “Contracts will shortly be awarded for the communications tower and pontoon, which again we’re trying to keep as local as possible.”
The massive Seagreen project remains integral to Montrose Port’s development as it continues to diversify its offering. The £3 billion joint venture between SSE Renewables and Total will be Scotland’s single largest source of renewable energy. When complete it will be able to provide a major contribution to Scotland’s net-zero ambitions by producing enough clean and renewable energy to power 1.3 million homes nationwide.
“We feel extremely proud to have been able to attract this contract to Montrose and be able to shine a spotlight on the area, raising our profile within the growing renewables sector.
“The project demonstrates our collaborative approach to working with our clients and the local community to create a winning scenario for all, including the wider business network.
“The 25-year commitment from Seagreen ensures ongoing investment and redevelopment of our existing facilities in line with our deliverables as a Trust Port.”
Hutchison believes much of the port’s historic and continuing success comes from this focus on a collaborative approach – for example by keeping discussions open with all of the major energy players to attract long-term contracts to the area.
“This allows us to build up the local supply chain around us sustainably, allowing us to grow opportunities exponentially with our partners, particularly within new markets.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the energy sector, where last year the port extended its contract with Baker Hughes for a further seven years after they decided to consolidate their operations across the region and open a subsea Centre of Excellence on land next to the Port.
This enabled them to bring greater efficiency for customers, eliminate extra transportation between sites and reduce their environmental impact. The Crown Estate has identified Montrose as one of the ports with the greatest potential to provide a multi-project hub in order to help the Scottish Government achieve its Net Zero target by 2045.
“Over the past few years, we have seen the energy industry diversify more into the renewable sector and we’re always keen to help support its development by providing a research and development site like we did in October 2020 for Oceaneering and the PECMAG PTO system or by working alongside our onsite stakeholders so they, too, can develop their offering in line with market demands.”
“In alignment with our vision and purpose as a Trust Port we are constantly looking at ways to improve facilities and support our stakeholder’s development.
“By looking at the bigger picture we’re able to work collaboratively with our onsite partners to create first class facilities so as to attract new business and have a positive impact on the whole community.”