The UK’s largest marine infrastructure project has received a £30 million funding boost from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) as it prepares to go operational in the next few months.

The loan from the taxpayer-funded SNIB will strengthen Aberdeen Harbour’s position a key port hub following its £350m expansion to the south of the existing harbour. The project, which has been under construction since 2017, will provide greater land and water access for offshore wind providers and is expected to be a pivotal part of the supply chain for projects under the recently-announced ScotWind leasing round.

The expanded port is designed to handle larger, wider and deeper vessels. Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said the support from SNIB reflects the port’s status as a “critical asset” in the future of Scotland’s industries.

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“The port will provide customers and port users with scalable and flexible infrastructure, making it ideal for space-intense industries such as offshore wind, decommissioning, cargo and cruise,” he said.

“We are months away from opening our South Harbour expansion and look forward to beginning operational trials in the port at the end of the summer.”

Aberdeen’s Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) – designed to accelerate the sector’s evolution to net-zero emissions – will be located adjacent to the South Harbour development. Together it is hoped they will create a critical mass of offshore engineering experience to maintain the north-east of Scotland as a centre of energy excellence.

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“The bank is delighted to invest in Aberdeen Harbour and a project strongly aligned with its net-zero and place missions,” SNIB chief executive Eilidh Mactaggart said.

“The South Harbour project is a critical platform for the just transition in Scotland, delivering a high-specification facility which will shape industry in Aberdeen for decades to come and provide valuable space, as well as water access, for both offshore wind supply chain providers and offshore wind developers.”

The project has been funded to date by the European Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise and the Aberdeen City Deal. Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the additional support from SNIB is “extremely significant and welcome news”.

“This high-quality commercial investment will support the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour and has the potential to underpin Aberdeen and the north-east region’s role in securing a just transition to net-zero by 2045,” she said.

“As well as supporting greener energy production, this will also help us deliver the type of harbour infrastructure needed to help us capitalise on the huge economic potential of ScotWind.”