CEO Wants Montrose Port to Support 1,000 Jobs

The chief executive of Montrose Port has set out its mission to support more than 1,000 jobs by winning more renewables work.

Tom Hutchison said the Angus port hosting the operations and maintenance base for Seagreen offshore wind farm has “changed the conversation”.

The work associated with Seagreen has seen Montrose Port Authority break its revenue records.

The Inch Cape wind farm has also committed to using Montrose for its operations and maintenance base.

Mr Hutchison said the port was perfectly placed to support more renewables work in the future.

He said: “We have Scotland’s largest wind farm operating here and we’ve been awarded Inch Cape as well.

“That’s going to be two massive wind farms out of Montrose.

“We see the opportunity with renewables and we are perfectly placed with our geography.

“We have ambitions to be the biggest offshore wind farm O&M (operations and maintenance) port in the world – controlling more power than any other port.”

Seagreen opened its offices at Montrose just over two years ago. Montrose Port Authority acts as landlord but also benefits from the number of vessel movements transferring crew.

It helped the port achieve more than £8 million in revenue for the first time in 2022/23. Mr Hutchison expects this to increase again in this financial year to around £9m.

The increased revenue has been accompanied by investment in the port infrastructure.

£400,000 was spent on improving a quayside to be suitable for decommissioning work, another area of opportunity. £800,000 was spent on a new pilot boat.

This spring, shore power will be available. This £1m investment means vessels can be “plugged in” overnight, allowing internal auxiliary engines to be switched off and fuel emissions reduced, benefitting the surrounding area.

“What we’ve achieved is tremendous and that’s down to a lot of hard work by the team – but I don’t feel any sole pride over it,” he said.

“We’ve got Seagreen and secured Inch Cape but we’ve got to have the attitude of securing more. We can fit in more O&M bases and I think only imagination holds us back.

“We’re aggressive now in the renewables market and speaking to as many people as we can.

“We are in a healthy financial position which means we are able to make investments into the port.

“Meanwhile we’re also trying to attract decom and could accommodate more cruise vessels.

“Another crucial element of the port is our chain and anchor side – we have Intermoor and First Marine Solutions here– the two biggest players here and that’s really grown over the last few years.”

As a trust port, Montrose aims to benefit the whole of the community. Over the last three years it has given £360,000 to good causes, mostly in the Angus area.

Its contribution to the local economy is also significant. A study at the end of 2022 found the port directly and indirectly sustains 384 permanent, full-time employees, generating £13.6m in annual salaries and £25.7m net GVA to the regional economy.

Mr Hutchison said his ambition is to see the jobs number increase to 1,000 – a target he feels is achievable if it attracts more renewables work.

Meanwhile, the port is planning to spend around £4m turning the derelict Customs House building on the port’s periphery into modern offices.

This development alone has the potential of attracting hundreds of jobs to Montrose.

“My role as chief executive is not just about looking after the port, it’s about what we can do for the community and local economy,” Mr Hutchison said.

“The jobs we can generate here have an advantage for Angus as a whole.

“A year on from the last economic impact survey, we think there are now 450 direct and indirect jobs associated with the port.

“But there are other big wind farm developments that will help us achieve the 1,000 jobs target.”

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