Councillors have warmly welcomed significant investment which will enable essential improvements to be undertaken at Macduff Harbour which will open new economic opportunities to support market demand for dual-hulled vessels.
Works on the £74,400 scheme focus on the need for increasing the width and therefore capacity of one of the cradles at the slipway to accommodate new vessel designs for the renewable sector.
The improvements will also afford greater flexibility in supporting the tourism sector.
It is anticipated that this will in turn attract a wider range of customers to Macduff Harbour which will benefit the local supply chain and offer wider economic benefits to the town and surrounding communities.
Members of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee heard on Tuesday (Feb 14), that Macduff Shipyards have committed £14,900 to the scheme of improvements, while £9,500 has been awarded from the Aberdeenshire Council Regeneration budget.
A further £50,000 was committed towards the project through the Banff and Buchan Coastal Communities Fund to assist in the design, strip down and preparation of the cradle upgrade and to support the procurement, manufacture and final assembly of the new facility.
Commenting on the funding, Cllr Doreen Mair, chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, said: “Not only has this project got the potential to create additional employment within Macduff, it will help diversify and improve the sustainability of existing operations. Macduff Harbour is very much the engine of the town both economically and socially and I am delighted we have been in position to support this very worthy project through the Banff and Buchan Coastal Communities Fund.”
Cllr John Crawley, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, added: “This is a tremendous example of local industry and the local authority coming together to provide capital investment to future-proof our harbour facilities and grasp exciting new market opportunities to diversify our services. The use of Coastal Communities funding combined with that from our Regeneration budget highlights the importance of the harbour as a key asset which serves the wider Banff & Buchan area.”
Macduff remains one of very few remaining working harbours with a vibrant shipbuilding operation in Scotland and not only is this a real source of interest for visitors, but there is a great sense of pride among harbour users and local residents.
Macduff Shipyards, which construct steel-hulled and wooden boats for both the UK and overseas markets, are an important local employer within the manufacturing industry.
John Watt, (Director), Macduff Shipyards, said: “Macduff Harbour continues to play a key role in driving both local and regional economic activity for the area, but investment in our infrastructure is critical if we are to support the development of the maritime industry in Macduff to adapt to technological developments and the ever-increasing size of ships.”