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Port Expansion Takes Major Step Forward 05/07/2013
The Cromarty Firth Port Authority’s £20million port expansion has taken a major step forward in meeting its 2015 completion target, with ground investigation works now underway.
Investigations are testing the geology of the sea bed in the area which will eventually be reclaimed to form the 9 acres of additional operational land that this busy Port needs.
The expansion project, unveiled in 2012, will also see the creation of a new deep water berth, capable of handling the largest vessels operating in the oil and gas industry.
As part of the ground testing, currently underway until mid-July, a series of holes are being drilled into the sea bed by a modular jack up, which is visible by the Queens Dock at the Invergordon Service Base.
Reclamation of the 9 acres is due to get underway early in 2014 and will be completed by mid 2015.
Chief Executive of the Port Authority, Bob Buskie said “I am delighted that we continue to remain on target with the development.  The message we receive from our customers and stakeholders is clear. We need to develop the port to meet existing demand, but to also meet the future needs of the offshore wind sector. 
Bob adds “This development is good news for the economic regeneration of Easter Ross as well as the wider Scottish economy and has the potential to support in the region of 791 jobs (direct and indirect) once operational.”
The Cromarty Firth offers some of the deepest water on mainland Scotland, with 24 hour access, 365 days a year.  The expertise of the locally based supply chain, coupled with modern port facilities, has made this the Port of choice for inspection, repair and maintenance of oil rigs, as well as subsea engineering.  Today, the renewables sector is also becoming increasingly important and the Port has handled over 300 complete onshore turbines.
This major development is the latest in a series of investments on behalf of the Port Authority, aimed at ensuring the long term health of the Port.  Phase 1 was completed in 2010 and involved a £1m investment into the upgrade of Port facilities.   In 2012, the Port Authority reactivated 2.6 acres of port land, adding to the amount of high quality lay down that it can now offer. 
Tendering for the construction of the £20million project will be concluded in the fourth quarter of this year and work will get underway shortly after.
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