Aberdeen and the shipping industry

Aberdeen, Scotland’s third city is serviced by the world class port of Aberdeen. The port annually handles approximately 4 million tonnes of cargo, valued at around £1.5 billion.
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Aberdeen port is located in the north of the country, on the East coast of Scotland, opening out into the North Sea. Destinations serviced by the port include Africa and the Americas, along with many destinations in Europe. Coming inland, the major container transit roads serving the port of Aberdeen are the A90 and the A96.

Heading North from Aberdeen, the A90 services Peterhead (31 Miles) further along the East coast, and then further still to Fraserburg (40 Miles) at the tip of the Moray Firth. Travelling south from Aberdeen on the A90, the first major destination would be Stonehaven (14 Miles). Containers being transported further a field would then travel through Dundee (65 Miles) and onto Perth, where they would join the motorway network, leading the containers onto Edinburgh.

Travelling inland from the port, containers in transit would use the A96. Along this arterial route there are no major destinations, the largest being Elgin (65 Miles), but the A96 is the main artery for transporting containers from the East coast of Scotland to the West coast.

The first recorded reference to a harbour in Aberdeen was in AD 1136 when King David 1st of Scotland granted the Bishops of Aberdeen the right to levy a tithe on all ships trading at the port.

A 19th century Act of Parliament vested the property of the harbour in a body of commissioners who were authorised to develop Victoria Dock. The advent of steam trawling in the 1880s meant a significant increase of activity and further developments to accommodate the fishing industry. In the first half of the 20th century the development of a modern port continued, and during World War II, the harbour was an important naval base; air attacks caused considerable damage and the requirements of the war effort affected trade and development. The arrival of the offshore oil and gas industry in the mid 1960s resulted in a remarkable programme which was to virtually rebuild the harbour in the following decades, transforming it into one of the most modern ports in Europe. As traffic rose to record levels, investment continued apace through the 1980s and into the 1990s, with the development of forest products and grain terminals, transit sheds, quay reconstruction and extension, general improvements to facilities and services.

All of this development, which still continues today, makes the port of Aberdeen a world leader within the container shipping industry.