News from the BPA

New publication highlights value and contribution of Scottish ports to the economy

The Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP today attended the launch of a new brochure produced by the Scottish ports industry at the British Ports Association’s Scottish Ports Group in Glasgow.

The Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP today attended the launch of a new brochure produced by the Scottish ports industry at the British Ports Association’s Scottish Ports Group in Glasgow.

‘Scottish Ports: Gateways for Growth’ provides insightful information about Scottish ports, demonstrating what they do and the value they provide. It was produced in conjunction with Scotland’s enterprise bodies, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, following the work the organisations were involved in last year in respect of Scottish Energy Ports and their capabilities.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“Our ports are crucial gateways, supporting many of our vital industries, and the ‘Scottish Ports: Gateways for Growth’ brochure highlights the significant impact they make to the regional and national economies.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the industry to emphasise its importance, and to explore opportunities and challenges for investment and jobs growth. We will also use the industry’s knowledge and experience to help inform the development of the National Transport Strategy, as well as the Strategic Transport Projects Review.”

Welcoming the publication at today’s Scottish Ports Group meeting, Lorna Spencer, Chair of the Scottish Ports Group, commented:

“Scottish ports are fundamental to the Scottish and UK economies. This document and initiative highlights the unique role Scottish ports play, not only in providing a base for trade and employment, but in connecting communities. Ports provide the landside gateways for Scottish trade as well as acting as a hub for vital industries such as offshore energy, fishing and the cruise sectors. It is estimated that each year Scottish ports contribute £1.9bn in gross value added to the economy”.

The document includes sections on port ownership and governance in Scotland, port activities, safety and sustainable development. It details various port sectors and activities in Scotland which include cargo, ferries, shipbuilding and repair, cruise, leisure and tourism. The document also has particular focus on the support ports provide to Scotland’s vital energy sector which includes decommissioning, oil and gas, and offshore renewables.

The Scottish Ports Group has an excellent working relationship with Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. The document includes a number of priorities which the Group will be continuing to discuss with the Scottish Government.

The ports industry plays an important role in investing in infrastructure projects to keep trade moving. However it does rely on both national and local government to provide good hinterland road and rail connections and the industry has included some asks in the document. There are also some points on the terrestrial and marine planning systems and consenting processes in respect of sustainable development. In the run up to Brexit, this important sector is calling for further recognition.


1. The ‘Scottish Ports: Gateways for Growth’ publication can be downloaded by clicking here.
2. The Scottish Ports Group is the industry-led forum which represents the views of this important and dynamic sector. Together our members in Scotland manage over 250 ports, harbours, terminals and piers of all sizes. It is Chaired by Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd.
3. Scottish Ports provide hubs of regional and national economic activity as well as important clusters of coastal employment.
4. Latest figures show that ports in Scotland handle 67 million tonnes of cargo, 14% of the UK total.
5. Each year Scottish ports handle over 32 million tons of oil and gas products, 10.5 million passengers and 3 million vehicles.
6. It is estimated that the UK oil and gas industry currently supports more than 302,000 jobs, 38% of which are in Scotland.
7. Ports in Scotland directly employ 14,800 people.
8. Ports generate £1.9 billion gross value added (GVA) direct contribution to Scottish GDP and this contributes nearly £630 million in taxes.
9. 2016 was the seventh successive record breaking cruise season for Scottish ports. There were 676 cruise ships that visited Scottish ports in 2016, up 35% on 2015. Passenger numbers also increased, with over 484,000 passengers disembarking.
10. The fishing industry in Scotland is also by far the largest in the UK. Landings at just three ports (Peterhead, Lerwick, and Fraserburgh) account for just over 50% of all landings by UK vessels and 37% of the total value of the UK catch.
11. The British Ports Association represents the interests of over 100 port members, covering over 350 ports, terminal operators and port facilities. For more information please go to
12. The British Ports Association recently produced a video which highlights the importance of ports to the UK’s economy. It can be viewed by clicking here.