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Forth Ports lays out plans for Scottish superhub

[ July 27, 2021   //   ]

Forth Ports says it has “intimated” to the Holyrood Government that it will submit a proposal for a Green Port encompassing key harbours, industrial complexes and logistics centres on the north and south shores of the Firth of Forth and including Edinburgh Airport.

The Scottish Government has invited expressions of interest for the creation of a Green Port – the country’s equivalent of freeports in England with additional environmental and social credentials – within which operators and businesses can benefit from a package of financial and customs incentives to attract inward investment.

Forth, Scotland’s largest operator and owner of seven east coast ports says its plans would encompass strategic locations along the Forth Estuary, including Grangemouth (home to Scotland’s sea, intermodal and logistics hub as well as the country’s main petrochemical cluster) and the Port of Leith, where Forth Ports announced plans for a £40 million renewable energy hub in May (pictured below). 

Fife and the City of Edinburgh are also expected to feature in the Green Ports bid. Forth Ports is currently evaluating sites in Fife along the North Shore of the Firth of Forth from Longannet to Rosyth and Edinburgh Airport is also expected to feature for its international connectivity. “Each of these locations are uniquely placed to deliver on all of the objectives of the proposed Green Ports policy,” it says.

A spokesman for the airport said: “We see air freight as an area of growth for the airport and to help meet the Scottish Government’s exports targets, not to mention aid the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic. It also contributes to our plan for a more sustainable future for aviation in Scotland.

“We have held a number of positive discussions with Forth Ports to determine how we might achieve this and we will continue to look at other ways of growing and strengthening our existing network to ensure Edinburgh Airport is viewed as a critical hub going forward.”

Forth Ports’ group chief executive Charles Hammond (main picture), said: “The Firth of Forth, spanning from Central Scotland to the country’s east coast, is the critical engine for Scotland’s economic recovery. The creation of the Firth of Forth Green Port will encourage greater inclusive growth, fair work practices and help deliver Scotland’s net zero economy.”

He added that Forth Ports, which also owns the ports of Tilbury and Sheerness in the south of England was starting to see investment and regeneration benefits since the government confirmed the success of the Thames Freeport bid earlier this year as part of the package of eight freeports in England.

Mr Hammond added: “We believe it is as important that Scotland’s main industrial and business area sees similar benefits in a similar timescale. This would support the transition to net zero and at the same time create good quality green industrial employment.”