The challenge of growing the business and developing the port's facilities.
We are up at 72 per cent.
We are in a superb geographic location, coupled with sheltered deep water which is accessible at any time of day or night throughout the year.
We also have an extremely experienced, flexible and well-integrated business supply chain, with a shared ‘can do’ attitude to meeting customer needs.
Our business showed significant growth in 2009, mainly in the IRM and oil export sectors. The current year began well with IRM and rig mooring business and this is expected to continue at a reduced level throughout the year, with increased sub-sea activity towards the year-end.
We are seeking to prepare for the growing offshore renewables market, while promoting increased activity at the Invergordon Service Base by improving facilities and working more closely with the supply chain.
We are also promoting new business opportunities and raising the profile of the Cromarty Firth through direct and indirect marketing.
Renewable energy is emerging rapidly for us, being the nearest deep water port to the Beatrice wind farm licensed areas.
Reactivation of the Nigg fabrication yard, for mixed renewables and other uses, is also a major opportunity for us and the wider region, along with increased throughput at the Nigg oil terminal facility.
We also see good scope for further developing new business opportunities for the Invergordon Service Base.
These include fluctuations in North Sea oil exploration levels, as well as the price of crude oil and effects on sub-sea projects. Other fluctuations, including global and European economic circumstances, also pose significant business challenges to us and those in our industries.
An ongoing challenge, and a vital necessity, is maintaining a well trained and experienced supply chain.
In this timeframe, I would see considerable growth of offshore wind and wave support facilities, and expansion in fabrication facilities at the Invergordon Service Base.
Oil-related activity levels may reduce by 10 to 15 per cent, while I could see general cargo activity actually increasing, to service local businesses as part of a greater move from road transport to sea.
The cruise ship industry continues to expand, with ever-bigger vessels, so there’s a likelihood of increased passenger numbers, but still 50 to 55 cruise ship calls per year.
We are currently preparing a 20-year master plan for the firth which will be completed in early 2011. This will include potential locations for development and business demands.
The reactivation of Nigg Yard as a multi-disciplined facility will have a significant effect on the future of the firth.