Whisky and seed potatoes from the north and north-east have helped drive up business to record levels at Scotland’s biggest container port.
Seed potatoes – many of them cultivated in the north-east – are being exported in huge numbers to destinations such as Egypt and the Canary Islands after a strong season.
A big jump in whisky shipments in the run-up to Christmas – destined for markets such as the US, South Africa and South America – has also boosted the number of containers amassing at the Port of Grangemouth.
The port handled a record-breaking 4,200 containers this week, beating its previous record by more than 200.
A spokeswoman said the busy pre-Christmas period for the container business, which in an average year sees about 150,000 of the cargo boxes making their way through the port, was helped by increased white spirit exports as well as the seed potatoes and whisky.
Port manager Derek Knox added: “We are delighted that the container business in Grangemouth is thriving.
“We have had a busy week and the team has worked hard with our customers to make sure we deliver our usual efficient service.”
There are regular container services from Grangemouth, with daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg.
The port is one of seven owned and operated by Forth Ports, with the others being Leith, Dundee, Methil, Rosyth, Burntisland and Tilbury in London.
Grangemouth’s recent rise in seed potato shipments is generated by a sector of the Scottish farming industry worth an estimated £221million a year to the economy.
More than 27,000 acres of the crop are grown in this country every year, producing around 80% of seed potatoes grown in the UK.
The rest are exported worldwide to places including Thailand, Spain, the Canary Islands, Egypt, Morocco and other North African countries.