Inverbervie Probus were fortunate to have John Paterson, chief executive of the Montrose Port Authority, as their guest speaker.
His well illustrated talk presented aerial photographs of the port and basin showing a history of change over the decades.
Montrose Port Authority is a Trust, with no shareholders. It was founded in 1837. Two years later an inner dock was created on the north side of the river and remained there until the onset of oil and gas in the 1970s. It was filled in only seven years ago.
In the mid 1960s, the port handled 52,000 tonnes. Now the figure is 720,000 tonnes and 360 ships dock every year.
Although it is a tidal port, Montrose, with it’s two pilot boats, is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. It considers one of its strengths as being a niche port offering different facilities to the larger east coast ports, including its warehousing and open storage capacity which represents a large and important part of its income.
Montrose Port is constantly investing in new facilities and improvements to the port and its storage capacity. In 2011, two deepwater berths were opened.
These were specifically designed to cater for the needs of larger vessels, particularly for the offshore and renewable energy sectors. The port’s future is somewhat dependent on oil and gas - on Friday, October 10, a £6m investment in the new North Quay was officially opened.
Following this they will then look at investing in reconstructing berths on the north side. The port is keen to encourage transit storage with a view to increasing its shipping turnover.
Being a trust, it has no access to shareholder money for investment.
Funding is always difficult; however it is ever hopeful of financial assistance from Europe and the Scottish Government.
After capably answering a number of pertinent questions, John was thanked for his very interesting and informative talk by past president Jim Leacy.