Peterhead and the shipping industry

Peterhead located in the North of Scotland, on the East coast, just 31 miles North of Aberdeen. The port is most notably known for its fishing. It is the UK’s number one white-fish port, and one of the largest in Europe, but the facilities at Peterhead don’t end there. In 2010 the port handled 1.1 million tonnes of cargo traffic from all over Europe, and worldwide.
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Peterhead is a good service port for the North East of Scotland. The main transit route leaving the port is the A90 arterial road. Travelling south on this road, containers in transits first major destination would be Aberdeen (31 miles). Continuing South, the A90 then carries cargo through to Stonehaven (46 miles), where this arterial road leaves the coastline and moves slightly inland to Dundee (97 miles). A short journey from here takes cargo onto the Motorway network. Taking the A90 in a northerly direction would take in Fraserburgh (17 miles), where containers would switch to the A98 to further their journey. Travelling along the A98, and the A96, cargo will eventually be destined for Inverness (113 miles).

The construction of Peterhead port came about due to the rough conditions of the North Sea. In the nineteenth century many lives and a considerable amount of ships were lost to the sea, and a plan was made for the building of harbours of refuge along the east coast. Peterhead was the only development planned for Scotland. A prison was constructed to house male inmates, so that they could use the convicts as labourers to build the breakwaters. By the time the harbour was completed, the sailing ships, which were the main problem in the North Sea water, were no longer in use as other powered vessels took over, making a harbour for refuge redundant. This left the port, located in quite a remote position little used, until the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Now, Peterhead is seen as a strategic location, and ideal for servicing both the offshore oil and gas industries.

By the time the harbour was completed, sail had given way to power and there was no longer a requirement for a Harbour of Refuge. The sheltered bay created by the breakwaters was little used until the discovery of oil in the North Sea. The strategic location of Peterhead made it an ideal centre for servicing both the offshore oil and gas and fishing industries. The provision of purpose built support bases and deep water berthing has enabled Peterhead to develop its role as an important centre for these industries.