Follow the money…….we have (and were not finished yet). Here’s the long and short of it – the Cromarty Firth Port Authority are undercutting their rivals. Nothing new or indeed wrong with that. Except when it is less than a third of the price of your rivals and you are able to offer that priced reduction while undertaking an extremely dangerous and risk prone activity by completely cutting out shore-based expertise that allows the process to be undertaken safely. This presents not only an unacceptable risk to the environment but uses the Port’s status to disadvantage its stakeholders – both the Nigg oil terminal, the local community and other “regional businesses”. By regional businesses I refer to the other locations in Scotland currently undertaking STS that will lose this work because of this outrageous move. Specifically the staff at Sullom Voe oil terminal. This proposal in the Cromarty Firth will kill their business and negatively impact the economy of Shetland. We compared charges at Sullom Voe and the CFPA’s proposed charges looking at the cost for three tankers transferring 120,000 tonnes of oil at Sullom Voe and in the Cromarty Firth. At Sullom Voe the cost would be £49,792, while in the Cromarty Firth it would be £15,120. Shetland Islands Council, operators of Sullom Voe through their role as harbour authority and the CFPA have confirmed to the Herald that these figures are accurate.
No doubt by offering STS cheaply, the CFPA will be able to cross-sell offerings made by its part privately owned subsidiary Port of Cromarty Firth Services at the expense of local operators. This along with the assertion made by Global that unfair port charges will cause job losses (see: http://www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk/News/Nigg-jobs-on-line-as-unaccountable-port-accused-of-unfair-charge-hike-10122016.htm) paints a picture of an aggressive and out of control Port Authority. This is a national disgrace and is surely not an appropriate modus operandi for a Scottish Trust Port. We call on the Scottish Government to intervene before this goes any further. We call upon the Port Authority to withdraw this application or RESIGN.