KIRKCALDY Harbour was officially re-opened to commercial ships today after a 20 year gap.
The Fife harbour, owned by Forth Ports, is once again a working waterfront with cargo ships calling regularly at the quay to provide the miller of Scotland’s leading flour brands with quality wheat from around the UK and Europe.
The move from truck to sea will take over 250,000 lorry miles each year from Scotland’s roads, and around 4,000 truck loads currently going through the town of Kirkcaldy.
The re-opening was a partnership project between Forth Ports and miller Carr’s Flour Hutchison’s, with the support of a Transport Scotland Freight Facilities Grant. Construction work at the harbour was completed earlier this summer with new silos and conveyors in place to allow the fast discharge of thousands of tonnes of wheat direct from coastal ships.
Commenting on the reopening, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I congratulate Carr’s Flour Hutchison’s on its investment in this project and for its successful delivery with the support from the Scottish Government through a Freight Facilities Grant of £829,000, as well as Forth Ports’ role in investing in the necessary dredging and other work to make this project viable.
“This is a good example of the private and public sector working together to make a positive impact on Scotland’s infrastructure and also helping its environment by the transfer of freight from road to water.
“This new development contributes to the Scottish Government’s purpose of creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.”
Nik Scott-Gray, Business Development Manager of Forth Ports, said: “We are delighted to see Kirkcaldy a working harbour once again.
“Hutchison’s have the perfect location on the quayside to ensure that this coastal shipping initiative delivers a continuous product supply to the Mill while reducing the lorry journeys by around 4,000 per year.
“Coastal shipping also delivers a greener transport alternative, with one recent wheat shipment from Tilbury to Kirkcaldy over 17 times more carbon efficient than using road.”
Carr’s Flour Hutchison’s Managing Director, Duncan Monroe, added: “It is very exciting to see ships berthing alongside our grain silo once more.
“As well as the obvious environmental benefits, sea freight direct to the mill has other advantages. It helps ensure an uninterrupted supply of the best quality bread wheats. This means that in years such as this, when the wheat harvest in Scotland has been difficult, we can still supply our customers with the consistent quality products they are used to.
“Our business has been in Kirkcaldy for nearly 200 years and we believe that this project will bring great benefit not only to our business but also to our customers and the local people of Kirkcaldy.”