The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) : 2019-11-18

OPINION : 72 : 8

OPINION

8 nopewinsio­n THE PRESS AND JOURNAL November 2019 Safe harbours for our continuing innovation BY RUSSELL BORTHWICK T hinking about the marine sector, it is interestin­g to reflect how Aberdeen’s geographic location has influenced its past and will remain a key part of its future. I’m continuall­y struck by the incredible statistic that in Aberdeen Harbour we have the oldest continuous business in the UK, its royal charter having been awarded by King David I in 1136. As is the case with any organisati­on in any era, the harbour has constantly had to evolve over its almost 900 years of operation and, of course, has endured its ups and downs. And I’m not referring to the ducking of witches and criminals off the Shiprow in the 1400s. A strong fishing industry came and went. As did shipbuildi­ng. Our trading port status saw regular shipments leave for the Baltic states and many tons of polished granite set sail for overseas shores. The proximity of the city to the rich farmlands of the shire saw Aberdeen establishe­d as the marketing and distributi­on hub for much sought after agricultur­al produce and to some extent this continues today. And, since the 1970s, millions of images of Aberdeen Harbour have been seen globally as synonymous with our contempora­ry reputation as Europe’s energy capital. A quick delve into that coffee table favourite Society & Economy in Modern Britain 1700-1850 (Richard Brown) tells us that by 1850 “Aberdeen had a number of striking characteri­stics, one of which was its economic resilience based on the adaptabili­ty of business leaders who found new means of investment and employment when old ones faded”. So how will this historical ability to adapt and respond to changing circumstan­ces shape our future as well as defining our past? We need history to repeat itself by delivering the agenda to diversify our economy. The bold and exciting £350m South Harbour project is creating a step change in the marine support capabiliti­es in Scotland. The new facilities will transform the port’s ability to accommodat­e the trend for larger vessels that is being witnessed across a whole range of industries. In turn, this will afford the opportunit­y to attract larger, more cost-effective commercial shipping, up-scaled decommissi­oning activity and enable the region to win a more significan­t share of the growing cruise market. As you leave the harbour, you see 11 signs of Aberdeen’s potential future in the form of the offshore wind farm. This testing ground for new forms of power generation provides another sign of our adaptabili­ty by utilising our world-leading subsea and engineerin­g knowhow to establish the Aberdeen city region as a global renewable energy technology centre. We have other ports in the region all helping to future-proof our economy. At Peterhead, the redevelopm­ent work and constructi­on of the new fish market are clear indicators of the confidence in its future as a major player in the oil and gas sector, the decommissi­oning agenda and fishing. However many years pass, our city region, perched high on the north-east corner, will still be making its mark on the world. Hazardous Waste is safe in our hands Our dedicated team will ensure a compliant safe disposal Call us today for a Free Waste Audit Contact Details: One Stop Waste Solutions, Aberdeen, AB12 4LP Email: enquiries@onestopwas­te.com, Tel: 01224 782050 • www.onestopwas­te.com