Scrabster Harbour Trust operates a multi-purpose port on the North coast of Scotland. Scrabster is a key hub of economic activity in the region, catering for a wide variety of sectors such as oil and gas, renewables, fishing and cruise ships. The harbour offers extensive facilities, with 24/7, 365 days a year access to the port. Scrabster Harbour possesses a strong local supply chain and is one of the UK’s top whitefish and shellfish landing ports.
Modernising Trust Ports – A Guide to Good Governance describes a trust port as ‘a valuable asset presently safeguarded by the existing board, whose duty it is to hand it on, in the same or better condition to succeeding generations. This remains the ultimate responsibility of the board, and future generations remain the ultimate stakeholder.’ Through the running and maintenance of this asset, though, others stand to benefit.
The Trust is established and acts in terms of various Scrabster Harbour Acts and Orders enacted in the period 1841 to 2011. The current constitution and management arrangements of the Trust are set out in the Scrabster Harbour Revision (Constitution) Order 2005.
About Scrabster Harbour
At Scrabster Harbour our team is committed to providing a high quality, reliable service offering to our clients. Scrabster’s strategic location, modern infrastructure and high quality, reliable services offers a competitive advantage across a range of sectors: cargo, cruise, ferries, fishing, oil and gas and marine renewables. The harbour offers extensive facilities, with 24/7, 365 days a year access to the port. Scrabster Harbour possesses a strong local supply chain and is one of the UK’s top whitefish and shellfish landing ports.
The harbour is overseen by Scrabster Harbour Trust, established in 1841 and governed by its own legislation. The Trust seeks to serve the local community and all surpluses created are reinvested into the port.
There has been significant reinvestment made in the harbour over the last 10 years to improve the facilities offered to clients. To date, £35 million has been spent since 2001 with a total of £50 million set to be invested in total.
Scrabster Harbour Trust Business Strategy 2017
Scrabster Harbour Trust business strategy is focused on:
- Growth in energy related port activity (oil and gas, marine renewables):
- For oil and gas, Scrabster seeks to become an integrated supply base supporting activity in West of Shetland and in the Northern North Sea.
- For marine renewables, the port seeks to be an operations and maintenance base for offshore renewable activity.
- The retention and growth of ferry, fishing, general cargo and cruise activity:
- For the ferry service, the Trust will endeavour to maintain the life line classification of the service and lobby to ensure that the interests of Scrabster are promoted in the tendering process.
- For fishing, the Trust will seek to maintain and improve on the landings at Scrabster through modern infrastructure.
- For the seafood sector, processing and other value added activities will be encouraged.
- For general cargo activity the Trust will work with stakeholder partners to provide an efficient service to port users to promote the use of the harbour.
- For cruise activity the Trust will work with partners to enhance the visitor experience at the port and its hinterland. The Trust will continue to promote Scrabster at international cruise events.
The strategy seeks to deliver:
- Higher quay and laydown utilisation;
- Increased quay and laydown area space;
- Increased vessel numbers and cargo throughput.
All of this will result in increased port revenues that can be re-invested in the harbour for the commercial benefit of harbour users and the wider Caithness economy.
Property and Estate Strategy 2017
The Trust’s property and estate strategy aligns with and complements overall port strategy. It also aligns with the aims of the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration themes of diversification away from an economy dependent upon Dounreay.
The Harbour Estate consists of the port area extending to 10.42 hectares and development land at Scrabster Farm extending to 14 hectares. The port area is a mixture of outright ownership and leasehold tenure from the Crown Estate Commissioners. The land at Scrabster Farm is owned outright by the Trust and is currently classified as an enterprise area by Scottish Government.
The Trust derives income from a diverse property portfolio
- Ground rents
- Residential property
- Storage and storage areas
- Office and business accommodation
- Industrial units
Current vacant space at the port, extends to only 4,300 square metres, is very limited and keenly sought.
Strategy and Policy Going Forward
- Property strategy aligns with overall business strategy. Any property and estates proposal needs to be assessed, not in isolation, but with regard to overall port strategy.
- Property strategy looks to the medium to long term (5-10 year timeframe) rather than short term revenue maximisation.
- The limited availability of quayside laydown areas needs protection and careful management.
- Additional space is required at and nearby to the port.
- Experience elsewhere emphasises keeping laydown areas as clear and flexible as possible.
- Experience at other ports has demonstrated that longer term port revenues are maximised through ports owning and developing their own land and buildings. Scrabster will seek to follow the same model subject to affordability and funding restraints.
- For marine renewable activity there has been limited activity to date, however, the Trust needs to be in a position to respond as the requirements of the sector becomes clearer. Scrabster seeks to be an O&M (Operations and Maintenance) base for the sector but remains open to any opportunity to support fabrication activities.
- For Oil & Gas activity – Scrabster offers shorter steaming time, congestion free and fast vessel turnaround. This requires available and flexible quayside and back up space.
Delivering The Strategy
The property and estate strategy will be delivered through the following work streams and through partnership working with interested parties and public agencies:
1. Port Infrastructure – the maintenance and improvement of port infrastructure will be progressed with the replacement of the Ice Plant and redevelopment of the Ola Quay being the short term priorities.
2. Enterprise Area – Working with others the Trust will pursue the initial development of the Enterprise Area at Scrabster Farm, including improved access. Initial development will cover basic infrastructure.
3. Property acquisition – The Trust will seek to secure additional properties at the Harbour.
4. Land reclamation – The feasibility of additional land reclamation will be pursued.
5. Reconfiguration – The existing layout will be examined to ensure space is best configured.
All property related requests and applications will be assessed with reference to the above policy.
To support this property strategy, a 10 year, multi phase development programme for the harbour area has been produced showing jetty area expansion, land reclamation and building. This is based on a number of assumptions that will be refined and reviewed going forward.