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Delivering the net zero capital of Europe

Port Aberdeen
Port of Aberdeen with its north and south breakwaters.

Since it was established in 1136 by King David I of Scotland – making it the oldest business in Britain – the Port of Aberdeen has experienced almost nine centuries of sea change.

The latest is possibly the most significant, both for the Port and the country: accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to low carbon sources, while increasing domestic production of secure, clean and affordable energy.

Jobs, investment and innovation

Collaborating with Peterhead Port Authority, Aberdeen International Airport and the region’s two councils, the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid will deliver 32,000 jobs across a range of  sites and generate £8.5 billion for the regional economy over 10 years, claims Bob Sanguinetti, the Chief Executive of the Port of Aberdeen.

The package of business incentives on offer will usher in a new era of investment, innovation, regeneration and opportunity for this region. And above all else, according to Sanguinetti, it will help deliver, at pace, the interventions the UK needs to tackle the climate emergency.

These include delivering an integrated energy hub focussed on the delivery of net zero, with manufacturing and subsea engineering clusters to maximise economic benefit from Scotland’s rapidly-growing offshore wind and hydrogen sectors.

It will also accelerate the delivery of Acorn, Scotland’s only carbon capture project, and establish Europe’s largest direct air capture facility on the Buchan coast.

Sanguinetti said: “The bid will stimulate investment in innovation and automation to transform our crucial seafood sector and create a regional customs hub for premium and globally recognised Scottish food and drink exports, building direct links to key markets for products such as Scotch whisky, seafood and meat produce.

“Our £400 million expansion project at Aberdeen South Harbour, which is largely self-funded by the Port, is at the heart of the Green Freeport bid. We are gearing up for a ‘soft start’ to operations with the first commercial vessel expected in early July, ahead of South Harbour being operational by the end of October.”

Logo of the NES Green Freeport bid
Port of Aberdeen is at the heart of the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid

Community benefit

Sanguinetti is bidding for Green Freeport status so that “We can build strong, vibrant and resilient communities where there are opportunities for all and not just the few.” Furthermore, he states that the freeport tax sites will create high-quality jobs, embed fair work practices, attract new skills and expertise and retain existing levels of jobs and productivity.

“We will stimulate local and wider regeneration, amplifying the value of the Green Freeport investment to level up deprived communities and enable and accelerate a just transition.”

New chapter

Sanguinetti proposes: “The fusion of Green Freeport status with a region famed for its resilience, adaptability and pioneering entrepreneurial spirit would deliver a prosperous new chapter in our industrial story. One which, quite literally, could help us change the world.

“And while the future of the North Sea has been the source of much political division, this ambitious bid is something both our governments can unite behind and deliver for the benefit of the north-east, Scotland and the whole United Kingdom.

“Parliamentarians from across the political divide recently united to throw their weight behind the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid, with a public show of support from MPs, MSPs and local councillors across the SNP, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats parties.

“We have so much to gain by working together. So let’s back a North East of Scotland Freeport, let’s accelerate our journey to net zero and let’s anchor the world’s leading energy companies and talent right here in the UK for another 50 years.”


Learn more about the Port of Aberdeen


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