Major investment will see Port of Leith skyline change forever

A major investment has been made at the Port of Leith as it gears up to play a key role in Scotland’s renewables future.

By Scott Reid
Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 3:49 pm

A seven-figure privately funded investment at the port, which is owned by Forth Ports, will being an additional 25 hectares of land to the market.

The investment will see the skyline of the port changed, with the final stages of the demolition of the landmark Imperial Dock grain silo being completed.

Bosses said the port has seen an “unprecedented” surge in activity over the past few years with the energy transition to low carbon becoming a strong influence in the future of Scotland and Leith.

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A seven-figure privately funded investment at the Port of Leith, which is owned by Forth Ports, will being an additional 25 hectares of land to the market.

The site has already been involved in major renewable projects including the storage of offshore wind farm foundation jackets, thanks to its deep water quays.

Shipping and onshore economic activity has been boosted at the east coast port this year with its key role in supporting EDF Renewables’ and ESB’s offshore wind farm Neart na Gaoithe at various stages of the project.

This key project will supply enough low carbon electricity for some 375,000 homes and has a capacity of some 450 megawatts of low carbon energy.

David Webster, senior port manager at Forth Ports, said: “This investment is another example of our commitment to bring large-scale renewables to Scotland.

The landmark grain warehouse at Imperial Dock, Leith. Picture: Ian Georgeson

“This will allow Leith to build on its current success as well as complement the significant upgrades that are under way in our Dundee facility.

“The foundation logistics in Leith will be supported by the wind turbine hub in Dundee. We see this as the future to local content in Scotland that will drive employment.”

Matthias Haag, project director for Neart na Gaoithe (NnG), said: “It’s really exciting to see the Port of Leith making such a huge investment in offshore renewables, especially as it will play a key role in the successful delivery of NnG.

“Since the offshore construction of NnG started in August, the Port of Leith is already marine logistics base for the pile casings. These casings will form part of the foundations on which the project’s 54 turbines and two substations will stand.

“We’ve always said we’re committed to using the Scottish supply chain as much as possible and we’re really pleased to be working with the Port of Leith.”

Kenny Williamson, deputy port manager, said: “I have been working in the Port of Leith for 37 years and have never seen so many vessels in port with so much activity going on.

“This is an exciting time for Leith and Edinburgh as we adapt, upgrade and regenerate the port to create opportunities in Scotland’s emerging industries. We have been successful in winning a number of contracts this year, along with our partners.”

He added: “Leith is the largest port on the east coast of Scotland and has extensive deep water non-tidal berths connected to more than 140 hectares of land.”

Forth Ports owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.

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