Port of Cromarty Firth welcomes 1,000th cruise liner
The Port of Cromarty Firth welcomed its 1,000th cruise liner into the port today (18th August 2016).
The Koningsdam, only launched earlier this year, made her maiden voyage into port carrying 2,606 passengers.
During this record-breaking year, the Port will welcome 63 ships and 96,500 passengers bringing £11m into the Highland economy. This has included two trips by Disney Magic and the first visit of Celebrity Silhouette, a 122,000 tonne cruise liner which brought 2,700 passengers into Invergordon on Monday.
Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth is keen to capitalise on the growth in this industry and attract more of the new, larger cruise ships into the area. He said: “These larger vessels can be worth around £500,000 to the local economy as they can carry up to 5,000 passengers.
“Our deep water port is the ideal location to grow and develop this cruise tourism for the Highlands and the area has so much to offer in terms of shore excursions. The local infrastructure is more than able to cope with these larger vessels.
“To secure this business for the local area and the rest of the Highlands, we need to invest in a new quayside, along with enhanced passenger facilities and overall visitor experience. We are in competition with other UK ports who are investing in new facilities, so we must do all we can to boost the number of ships coming into the Cromarty Firth.
“We have a vision for a new berth at a significant additional investment of £25 million to accommodate the requirements of the modern passenger and the larger ships that are coming into the Port.”
The Port currently operates its cruise business in a joint venture under the “Cruise Highlands” brand. There is a real need for significant investment in the future potential of the Port’s cruise business, which is more difficult for private investors to justify due to the long term investments required. So it is for that reason the Port have decided to end the joint venture arrangement.
From October this year the Port will operate its own cruise company and will retain the services of Captain Iain Dunderdale, ‘Mr Cruise Highlands”, who will continue to run their cruise business.
Bob Buskie added: “We are very different to a private company, as a Trust Port we have the ability to invest in projects for the good of the community and we are able to take a longer term view on return on investment. We believe this development is critical to the area, as so many businesses rely on the income from our cruise passengers.
“Our vision for Invergordon and the Port of Cromarty Firth is to offer the best possible Highland experience to visitors. This will help attract more cruise business and encourage people to return to our beautiful region time and again.”
Captain Iain Dunderdale said: “I’m excited to be part of this new cruise vision for the Port of Cromarty Firth. Having worked for the Port for decades, I know that the team here are the safest and most experienced pair of hands to build and develop this new cruise company.”