Charles Hammond to step down as CEO of Forth Ports – Stuart Wallace announced as his successor

Thursday 7th December 2023

Forth Ports’ Group Chief Executive, Charles Hammond OBE, has decided to step down from his role leading the UK’s third largest ports group at the end of June 2024. His successor will be Stuart Wallace, who is currently the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

Charles will work closely with Stuart over the next six months to ensure a smooth transition prior to Charles stepping down from the company. Stuart, who is already a member of the Forth Ports board, will take up his appointment on 1 July 2024.

Most recently, the company set out its ambitious plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2042 and carbon neutrality by 2032. Forth Ports is also a major partner in both the Thames Freeport and the Forth Green Freeport, which last month submitted its Outline Business Case to the Scottish and UK Governments.

The company is also a major player in the renewable energy sector. A private investment programme, totalling £150 million, has already provided crucial support to offshore wind development with the creation of bespoke renewables hubs in Dundee – currently supporting the construction of the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm –and in Leith. There are also early plans to develop a floating wind hub across the River Forth at Burntisland.

Commenting on his decision to step down as Group CEO of Forth Ports, Charles Hammond OBE, said:

“It has been the privilege of my career to lead Forth Ports. From the significant growth of the business both sides of the border to the challenges of the Covid pandemic and Brexit, I have been fortunate enough to have been supported by the best team in the industry.

“The most consistent feature of my time at Forth Ports has been the stability that we have sought to create and, while I step down at the most exciting of times, I do so with the confidence that I will leave behind a business that is in great hands and very well positioned to continue to flourish.”

Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Executive Elect, said:

“I am proud and honoured to have been asked to lead this fantastic organisation as we face the challenges and opportunities of a just transition to net zero and the significant expansion of Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

“With the great team that we have built right across the business, I am confident that Forth Ports will continue to thrive. I am immensely grateful to Charles for steering the business into such a strong position and for his mentorship and support for me personally. I look forward to the next chapter in the Forth Ports story with relish.”

Patrick Samson, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Real Assets Investments at PSP Investments, Forth Ports’ principal shareholder, said:

“Charles will have been CEO at Forth Ports for more than 23 years when he steps down and we are grateful for his exceptional leadership and his contributions to the company over the last 12 years of our ownership.

“As we look to the future, we are excited to see Stuart succeed Charles as CEO. With his extensive operational experience and strategic mindset, we are confident in Stuart’s ability to lead Forth Ports through the next stage of its growth. We wish Charles all the best in this next phase of his career and look forward to continuing to work with Stuart and the broader management team.”

Charles was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the UK ports industry and to Scottish business and last month stood down from his role as Chair of the UK Major Ports Group after 10 years at the helm.

A qualified lawyer, Charles, who will be 63 when he steps down, joined Forth Ports when it was a publicly run ports and river authority in 1989 as Company Secretary.

He was appointed Chief Executive in 2001 and has overseen Forth Ports’ expansion to a point today when the company owns and operates eight commercial ports, including Tilbury on the Thames, six ports on the Firth of Forth and Dundee on the Firth of Tay. He also oversaw the company’s move from a publicly listed PLC to private ownership in 2011.

A qualified Chartered Accountant, Stuart Wallace (53) joined Forth Ports in 2002, initially as Financial Controller for its Scottish region, prior to being seconded to the Port of Tilbury to run general port operations and the London Container Terminal. He returned to Scotland in 2013 having been appointed Divisional Director for the company’s Scottish operations.

He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2017, joining the board at that point, and is responsible for all operational activities of the Group. Stuart is also a non-executive director of Business Stream, one of the top three water retailers in the UK and a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Water.


Forth Green Freeport submits outline business case as development platform takes shape

Monday 27th November 2023

The consortium behind the Forth Green Freeport has submitted its Outline Business Case (OBC) to the Scottish and UK Governments following its successful shortlisting earlier this year.

Submission of the OBC is an important step in the process towards securing green freeport status as the team refines its visionary bid for Scotland. At the heart of the Forth Green Freeport’s vision, which will be delivered by the public and private sector consortium*, is the re-industrialisation of Scotland, the creation of large-scale economic regeneration, well paid high skilled green jobs and a just transition to net zero that benefits the wider Green Freeport approved area.

The Forth Green Freeport’s economic impact assessment forecasts that this will drive up to £7bn of private and public investment over the next decade, delivering Gross Value Added (GVA) of £8.4bn. The Forth Green Freeport will be the catalyst for creating up to 38,350 jobs, with almost 19,000 of these being direct gross jobs linked to the target sectors. The target sectors of the Forth Green Freeport will require a higher paid, more skilled workforce as well as creating other jobs across the supply chains.

The OBC focuses on three strategically located tax sites and a number of potential customs sites, which span 552 hectares in Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport. This is a refinement of the overall area following the inclusion of land owned by the Royal Navy in Rosyth (HMS Caledonia) and the joining of the Burntisland site to the Leith site to create the Mid-Forth tax site.

As a result of the increased economic activity associated with the Forth Green Freeport, the consortium remains committed to ensuring that the communities in and around the tax sites benefit from the inward investment.  The governing board and the three local authorities aim to deliver ongoing investment in economic related infrastructure that creates and develops a wider sense of place linked to the Forth Green Freeport.

Significant investment is needed over the next decade to reduce industrial carbon emissions across the country through innovations in cleaner fuels, energy and logistics.  The Forth Green Freeport will accelerate Scotland’s green development profile, with a focus on offshore wind (fixed bottom and floating), manufacturing and the production of alternative fuels (biofuels and low carbon hydrogen).

The Forth Green Freeport will drive growth in Leith, Burntisland and Rosyth through the manufacture of the next generation of offshore wind components, including floating offshore wind (FLOW), while stimulating innovative shipbuilding and advanced modular manufacturing and assembly at Babcock’s site in Rosyth. In Grangemouth, investment will support the just transition from the reliance on hydrocarbons to alternative fuels and energy sources. Together, these will have a far-reaching impact for the whole of Scotland and provide opportunities for greater trade across the wider Forth estuary.

Strong governance is a key thread throughout the OBC. A governing board has been established and is active, with an independent Chair, Dame Susan Rice DBE, now appointed. The board has representatives from all consortium partners and includes elected members from all three local authorities and advisers from both the Scottish and UK Governments. There will also be an employee representative on the board.

The consortium has established a strict set of Investor Principles which all landowners and developers will be required to adhere to.  This will include abiding by the Fair Work Charter which prioritises the rights, wages and working conditions of employees. The principles also require businesses to abide with Forth Green Freeport’s net zero commitments.

Dame Susan Rice, Chair of Forth Green Freeport, said: “The OBC submission is a key step in the green freeport process as we undertake our due diligence on the vision that was set out at the bid stage. The team have been working hard over the past few months to refine the contents of the bid to shape how the Forth Green Freeport will be governed, operated and delivered for Scotland. We now await the feedback from both the Scottish and UK Governments before we begin creating the final business case early next year.

 “The Forth Green Freeport is a true partnership of private and public sector organisations who share the same vision for the Forth. The delivery of significant investment through the Forth Green Freeport is a key element in reducing emissions across the country through innovations in offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and commissioning, alongside innovative shipbuilding, modular assembly and hydrogen manufacture.”

 The OBC document was submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments on Friday 24 November. The OBC will now be reviewed by both Governments before being approved, allowing the Forth Green Freeport to become operational. The consortium will then develop the Final Business Case which develops the detail in the OBC further and secures the seed capital funding linked to the Green Freeport. The FBC will be submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments in Spring 2024.

27 November 2023                             – Ends –

 *The bid consortium comprises both private and public organisations who together will deliver the bid’s vision, alongside leading further and higher education providers. The bid consortium partners are:


  • Babcock International; CalaChem; Edinburgh Airport; Falkirk Council (lead authority); Fife Council; Forth Ports; INEOS; Scarborough Muir Group; The City of Edinburgh Council; The Royal Navy (HMS Caledonia)


The bid is supported by Falkirk Council, Fife Council and the City of Edinburgh Council who will all continue to play an integral part in all the stages of the preparation of the Forth Green Freeport and, if successful, its eventual delivery.



Labour Leader and Shadow Chancellor visit the Port of Tilbury

Thursday 23rd November 2023

Today (23 November), Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party and Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, toured the Port of Tilbury to see first-hand the importance of building infrastructure to generate growth in the UK.

During the overview of London’s major port and its expansion plans, both politicians also received a briefing on the supply chain demands across some of the country’s fast-developing sectors, including offshore wind, hydrogen and sustainable fuels.

The team discussed how government and industry can work in partnership to create sustainable, well-paid jobs across the country through a strong industrial strategy.

As well as hearing the business’ plans for the future, Starmer and Reeves also met a group of apprentices at the forefront of the port’s important work. The port’s ongoing apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeship programmes aim to build the skills base to support rapidly growing business areas such as consumer goods, building materials and recyclables.

Forth Ports owns and operates The Port of Tilbury, alongside seven other commercial ports on the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay: Grangemouth, Dundee, Leith, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy. The Port of Tilbury is the number one UK port for forestry products, construction materials, paper, grain and recyclables. The port has a strong market presence in bulk commodities, containers / trailers, cars (import and export) and cruise vessels.

Welcoming Labour’s top team to Tilbury where Forth Ports outlined their net zero mission, Charles Hammond OBE, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group (owner of the Port of Tilbury and Tilbury2), commented: “Ports are epicentres for the growing green economy. Our multi-million investment plan across our major ports – Tilbury, Burntisland, Leith, Grangemouth and Rosyth – will accelerate the nation’s path toward a decarbonised economy built upon low carbon logistics, low carbon fuels and low carbon power generation.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “Here at Tilbury Port, I was struck by the scale of the operations, the scale of the group’s green ambitions and their commitment to develop young people into the managers of tomorrow. Meeting the apprentices, it’s clear how investment into the area will smash the class ceiling and break down the barriers to opportunity for young people.

“My Labour government will share ambition like the one I’ve seen here today, driving growth and the next generation of jobs through investment in the infrastructure needed to deliver clean power. My mission-driven Labour government will get Britain building to create jobs, and deliver a prosperous economy.”


Hundreds attend London International Cruise Terminal Community Festive Fair

Tuesday 21st November 2023

As Christmas fast approaches, the London International Cruise Terminal in Tilbury held its Christmas Fair for the community at the weekend (19 November). The event, which is in its third year, has grown from strength to strength showcasing the talents of over 50 stall holders, each contributing to the festive atmosphere with an array of beautifully handcrafted items.

The Christmas Fair is well supported by local crafters, with many of the stall holders based in the Thurrock area. The hundreds of visitors who came along were treated to a treasure trove of handcrafted gifts, from exquisite decorations to unique, locally made items. The fair not only provides a platform for these talented crafters but also fosters a sense of community pride in supporting local businesses.

The Tilbury Riverside project added to the holiday cheer serving complimentary coffee, tea, sherry and of course mince pies. The atmosphere was very jolly with hundreds of local people coming along to catch up and enjoy the festivities.

Paul Dale, Asset and Site Director from the Port of Tilbury said: “The Christmas fair raised over £1500 which will benefit both the Tilbury Riverside Project and St Luke’s Hospice. This fantastic achievement reflects the power of community, kindness and the shared commitment of making a positive impact in our local area.

“This year’s fair went beyond the joy of gift-giving, it embraced the spirit of giving back to the community. The raffle for St Luke’s Hospice proved to be a resounding success. It was fantastic to see the generosity and the enthusiasm people had for supporting a local cause.”

The London International Cruise Terminal proved to be an ideal venue for this festive gathering and The Port of Tilbury are already setting their sights on expanding the event even further next year. With the overwhelming support from the community and the success of the fair in its third year, they hope to make it an even more integral part of the Christmas season in Tilbury.

St Luke’s Hospice is a local charity dedicated to providing compassionate care and support for individuals facing life-limiting illnesses and their families. The success of the Christmas Fair’s charity raffle contributes directly to the vital services offered by St Luke’s Hospice in the Thurrock area.


Forth Ports Head of Cruise, Rob Mason comments on the importance of Cruise Tourism

Monday 13th November 2023

First published in The Herald Agenda column, Saturday 11 November 2023

Everyone has an opinion on cruise holidays it seems. They’re a real Marmite choice. For some, cruise is an anathema – something to be avoided at all costs. For others, once they get the bug, they’re hooked and no sooner have they finished one cruise than they’re booking their next one – a staggering 91% repeat. Meanwhile, cruise is now attracting younger holidaymakers, with the average age of a cruiser now 46.5 years.

So, one thing is certain – cruise is here to stay. Not even the Covid pandemic – which brought the industry to a global standstill – could change that long-term. In fact, Scotland saw 886 cruise calls in 2023 compared to 616 in 2019, bringing over 1 million passengers to our shores. A further increase in numbers is expected in 2024 as the appetite to experience Scotland’s heritage and natural beauty continues.

Six in 10 cruise passengers say they’ve returned to the destination later for a land-based holiday; every cruise passenger generates around £134 of socio-economic benefit for the local area – that’s £100,000 per cruise ship call; and every 24 cruise passengers support one full time job.

Cruise calls also enable curious visitors to experience the remoter parts of Scotland, not accessible for the 3 day week-end break travellers to our airport-served cities.

Of course, there’s the ongoing debate about who benefits from the economic boost that cruise ship visits represent, but it’s clear that the economic impact is positive, helping to sustain local businesses around Scotland’s cruise ports – trade notably lost during the pandemic.

Understandably, a light is being shone on the environmental impact of the industry. Cruise ships comprise less than 1% of the global maritime community, yet the industry can be considered at the forefront of the development of innovative technologies and practices to reduce emissions both at berth and at sea.  Sustainability is not a new priority – let’s not forget the cruise industry was the first maritime sector to publicly commit, in 2018, to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008. The industry is also accelerating the use of cleaner ships with cruise lines investing in 44 new and technologically advanced ships over the next five years, representing an investment of $62 billion since 2019.

Disappointingly, there’s been an announcement about extending the local visitor levy – a tourism tax – to include cruise vessels, effectively taxing the thousands of cruise passengers who arrive at Scottish ports. The risk is that cruise ships will simply avoid Scotland, which has been the case across other European destinations where cruise lines have removed the ports from their itineraries – with all economic benefit lost. The industry is therefore requesting urgent discussions with the Scottish Government on these proposals.

Scotland has a worldwide reputation for the warmth of its welcome. Cruise passengers, have actively chosen to spend their tourist pound – or dollar or yen – in Scotland and the majority of whom are likely to come back for a longer trip next time. Let’s greet them with open arms.

Rob Mason, Head of Cruise, Forth Ports and Chair of Cruise Scotland


One million tonne wheat delivery milestone for Kirkcaldy Harbour

Monday 13th November 2023

Carr’s Flour Mills and Forth Ports, have reached a significant milestone as over one million tonnes of wheat – enough to bake around 2.5 billion loaves of bread – have been delivered by ship into the busy harbour since 2011.

This landmark achievement was reached earlier this month with the arrival of the latest wheat delivery on board the Shetland Trader cargo ship.

Moving wheat by 506 ship journeys into the Fife port in the last 12 years has removed around 70,000 truck journeys in and out of the Kirkcaldy mill, which is a substantial environmental benefit due to the reduction in road traffic and also a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

The wheat shipped in by water is enough to bake over 2.5 billion loaves of bread which, laid end to end, would be enough to reach to the moon and back, or around the world more than 15 times! 2.5 billion loaves is enough bread to make around 32.5 billion sandwiches.

The high-quality UK grown wheat is delivered into Kirkcaldy Harbour, which is owned and operated by Forth Ports, from Dover in Kent, and discharged directly into Carr’s Flour Mills’ state of the art mill.

The harbour was re-opened to commercial traffic in 2011, with the help of a Freight Facilities Grant from Transport Scotland. The port is owned and operated by Forth Ports, with all the shipping organised by Carr’s Flour Mills, to bring high quality milling wheat from the UK and Europe direct into the Kirkcaldy Mill. There has been a considerable programme of investment in the facility, with Carr’s Flour building new silo storage and infrastructure and Forth Ports providing discharge equipment, fendering and dredging at the harbour.

Andy Lamb, Deputy Port Manager at Kirkcaldy Harbour, said: “This is an important milestone for Carr’s and the Harbour as it demonstrates the success of a quayside milling facility with direct access to regular shipping activity. Coastal shipping delivers a greener transport alternative with shipments being over 10 times more carbon efficient than road deliveries, aligning with our commitment to achieving net zero by 2042. We have exciting plans in place for Kirkcaldy Harbour to ensure that it can handle even larger cargo vessels to further increase efficiency.”

Carr’s Flour Mills Ltd Wheat & Supply Chain Specialist, Julius Deane, added:

It is a great pleasure to see that we have reached this milestone, especially with the challenges of Covid lockdowns. Having direct access to vessels bringing wheat into our mill really helps us efficiently supply consistent high-quality flour to our many customers, as well as reducing our carbon footprint. We are pleased to have a strong working relationship with Forth Ports, Forth Pilots, Leith & Granton Boatmen, W Knight Watson and Cargo Mariners to make this operate smoothly, and we are looking forward to soon being able to bring larger vessels into the Kirkcaldy harbour.”

13 November 2023                          – ends –


Dame Susan Rice appointed Chair of Forth Green Freeport

Thursday 2nd November 2023

Dame Susan Rice DBE has been appointed as the inaugural independent Chair of Forth Green Freeport to oversee the delivery and governance of the consortium’s ambitious vision to deliver a green growth strategy for Scotland’s industrial corridor.

Dame Susan is a highly respected chartered banker who has had a distinguished career in finance as the former Chair and CEO of Lloyds TSB Scotland, where she was the first female in Europe to lead a clearing bank, and Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland. She was also the founding Chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and is the former President of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (now named Prosper).

Dame Susan has extensive experience in corporate governance as a member of boards across a wide range of public and private sector organisations around the UK and internationally. Dame Susan is currently the Chair of Scottish Water where she has governed the Board since 2015 and will step down at the end of this year on completion of her term. Her other recent Board experience includes the Bank of England, Scottish and Southern Energy and J Sainsbury plc.

Dame Susan currently sits on the Board of the Office for Budget Responsibility and chairs the North American Income Trust and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, which is currently delivering the largest finance-focused campaign for COP28. Dame Susan has received honorary degrees from a number of Scottish universities, including Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and she was awarded a DBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

Beginning her role as Chair in November, Dame Susan takes over the helm from its interim Chair, the Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, Charles Hammond OBE.

Commenting on her appointment, Dame Susan Rice DBE, Chair of Forth Green Freeport, said: “The Forth Green Freeport has a broad and exciting vision for Scotland and I’m pleased to be leading the team in its execution. The creation of major port infrastructure, the development of new green industries and re-industrialisation of our communities is hugely compelling to me.

 “I’m honoured to have been appointed as the Chair and I welcome the opportunity to steer this impressive consortium as we create and implement the Forth Green Freeport. As an experienced adviser in delivering long-term economic development projects, I will support the Forth Green Freeport to deliver the community regeneration and many new jobs across Fife, Falkirk, Leith and Central Scotland. I’m delighted to be part of this.”

Welcoming Dame Susan Rice to the Chair role, Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group and Interim Chair of Forth Green Freeport, said:

We are extremely privileged to have someone with Dame Susan’s extensive experience and enthusiasm to Chair the ambitious opportunity that the Forth Green Freeport can deliver for Scotland. The decision to appoint Dame Susan was unanimously agreed by all of the consortium partners, both public and private sector, and we warmly welcome her to the Board.

  “Dame Susan’s career background is aligned perfectly as the consortium works together to create the driving force to deliver long term benefits for communities through well paid skilled green job creation and to assist in achieving the country’s net zero goals.”

 Forth Green Freeport was shortlisted earlier this year with its visionary bid which will re-industrialise the nation and create large scale economic development. The vision will act as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing, unlocking multi billion pounds of private and public investment for Scotland, create significant jobs and associated economic value add. The consortium is currently preparing its Outline Business Case which will be submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments shortly.


2 November 2023                                        – ends –


Port of Tilbury hosts The National Lottery to reveal HMT Empire Windrush sculpture

Wednesday 1st November 2023

On the 30th October we had the honour of hosting the National Lottery to showcase their new HMT Empire Windrush wireframe structure created to celebrate Black History Month and Windrush 75.

The National Lottery raises more than £30 million every week for great causes across the UK, and this year, awarded £1.2 million of this to 140 community groups commemorating Windrush 75. This month they celebrated with a showcase of a wireframe recreation of HMT Empire Windrush right where Windrush arrived at the Port of Tilbury.

The structure which is called ‘The Life We Hold’ was created by Liam Hopkins of Lazerian Studios, in collaboration with abstract artist and creative designer Jade Pearl. The design incorporates portraits of five individuals who have been able to do amazing things for the Windrush generation with funding from The National Lottery.

The team at The Port of Tilbury were privileged to host this event with singer and presenter Scarlette Douglas revealing the amazing structure on our docks, alongside representatives from the various beneficiaries of the National Lottery Funding.

This year we have pulled out all the stops to recongise the 75th anniversary of Windrush and we continue to support anyone who wishes to do so.


West Ham United's youth team visit Tilbury to mark Windrush75 & Black History Month

Thursday 26th October 2023

The Port of Tilbury welcomed the West Ham United youth team for an educational visit as part of Black History Month and Windrush75. The Port of Tilbury was the first arrival point for the HMT Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948 and this year’s 75th anniversary was celebrated in Tilbury with members of the local community including relatives of people who were aboard the Windrush.

The aspiring young players took part in a guided tour of the cruise terminal and the landing stage where the first of the Windrush generation arrived in the UK from the Caribbean. The tours were led by the Tilbury Riverside Project and local historian expert Sue Yates.

West Ham United became the first high level professional football club to play three black players, Clyde Best, Ade Coker and Clive Charles. The club continues to pride itself on its inclusive and diverse values to this day.

Commenting on the importance of this visit, Paul Dale, Asset and Site Director said: “We were honoured to host the West Ham United youth football team at the Port of Tilbury as part of their educational understanding of the Windrush Generation during Black History Month. For us at Forth Ports, it is not only just about the past, it is about opening the doors to a more inclusive understanding for the future.”

 Jamie Bather, West Ham Academy’s Head of Education said: “Here at the Academy, we truly value the importance of Education for our players and being able to support and contribute to their holistic and rounded development is our goal. We empower our players to be ambitious with their academic studies alongside their football development to be able to achieve their potential both on and off the pitch. 

 “Our U12s are currently completing an education project with the Premier League, which is focused on the Christmas Truce, Windrush75 & Walter Tull; being able to visit Tilbury Docks and spark the players imagination by bringing to life the stories of the Windrush generations has been a fantastic experience for our players and staff.”

Henry Brown, West Ham Under 12’s player added: “This visit today has inspired me to want study History as a GCSE subject because I have really enjoyed learning about the history of Tilbury Docks and the Windrush generation.

Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 and is now marked annually across the month of October. The month allows everyone, including businesses, to share, learn and celebrate black history and culture.

26 October 2023                                Ends


Forth Ports launches its commitment to Net Zero

Thursday 5th October 2023

The UK’s third largest ports group, Forth Ports, has set out its commitment and the actions it is taking to achieve a net zero carbon operation by 2042 at an industry launch event in Edinburgh (Wednesday 4th October).

At the event, the company launched a film which demonstrates its ambitious vision of achieving carbon neutral emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2032 and creating an infrastructure platform to help accelerate the UK’s path to a decarbonised economy with full net zero carbon emissions being achieved by 2042.   

A cornerstone of Forth Ports’ strategy is its substantial investment in infrastructure, port services and towage to support the build out of the UK’s renewable energy sector, including offshore wind. A private investment programme, totalling £150 million, has already provided crucial support to offshore wind development with the creation of bespoke renewables hubs in Dundee and in Leith to be part of the offshore wind revolution in the North Sea. This investment not only facilitates the transition to net zero but also lays the groundwork for emerging technologies such as floating offshore wind (FLOW) and green hydrogen.  In recent months, the group has unveiled plans for green hydrogen production facilities at the Port of Tilbury.

Forth Ports Group Chief Executive, Charles Hammond OBE, used the platform to lay out Forth Ports’ vision to create a high-capacity FLOW integration facility at the Port of Burntisland in Fife. FLOW will play a critical role in the UK achieving its net zero ambitions, with over half of Scotland’s offshore wind capacity in the deep waters where floating wind is to be deployed.  The Forth Estuary is one of the only suitable locations with the capability to integrate FLOW turbines in Scotland, with few other locations having the infrastructure, land and deep water required.  This vision would produce a unique asset combining key elements of the offshore wind supply chain across logistics, marshalling, manufacturing and marine services.

Commenting at the launch event, Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “With our firm commitment to carbon neutrality by 2032 and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2042, we are driving progressive change in the maritime industry and beyond. Our ambitious vision reflects our dedication to environmental stewardship and our crucial role in supporting the UK move towards a decarbonised economy for the generations of the future.

 “Our existing major investment in green energy, coupled with our commitment to floating wind, the next generation of renewable energy, and our collaborative approach underscore our determination to play our part in driving the transition to a decarbonised economy to achieve meaningful and lasting environmental change.”

Màiri McAllan MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, said: “I welcome the commitment from Forth Ports, to achieving carbon neutrality by 2032 and net zero by 2042. I have visited Forth Port’s Grangemouth facility, and what was made clear to me was the critical role that ports play in our economy.  It is encouraging, then, to see such a key operator show leadership and commitment to maintain and grow that role in Scotland, as we transition to net zero.

 “This commitment builds on impressive achievements to date, and I look forward to seeing Forth Ports’ full net zero plan being rolled out and how, working collectively, we can help deliver our ambitions for a just transition to net zero.”

The Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland said: “Forth ports, one of the UK’s largest ports groups, becoming net zero by 2042 is a welcome commitment. The leadership they are showing demonstrates what can be achieved by one of Scotland’s major infrastructure hubs. Forth Ports is a partner in one of Scotland’s two new freeports, each backed by £26m from the UK Government, and I look forward to hearing more about their plans.”

 Across all eight of its UK ports, including its largest port in Tilbury, Forth Ports is also overhauling and electrifying equipment and machinery, switching to low carbon fuels, increasing on-site renewable energy generation and promoting low carbon delivery alternatives such as rail and barge. Forth Ports is part of the Thames Freeport and Forth Green Freeport* partnerships which are seeking to accelerate the drive to net zero across the country.

Specific carbon reduction actions under way across Forth Ports:

Sustainable electricity – all eight ports use environmentally sustainable sources of electricity, including on-site wind turbines at Tilbury, London’s major port. All new warehouses will have solar roof panels installed as standard, such as the recently built 100,000 square foot facility at the Port of Grangemouth freight hub.  These projects are already satisfying a meaningful proportion of the ports’ power needs.  A programme of rolling out new LED lighting is under way to further reduce power use across all port estates.

Low carbon fuels – for mobile equipment and marine fleet, the strategy is to blend and utilise alternative fuels.  Initially this involves the widespread use of sustainably sourced hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) and, as technology develops, other methods of low emission power.  An ongoing programme exists to introduce more fuel-efficient equipment and marine fleet across the asset base.

Green energy ports – the group is focused on delivering low carbon logistics and large-scale port infrastructure to support green energy generation.  The group has overhauled its rail offering by investing heavily in four of its rail terminals, at Tilbury, Tilbury2 and Grangemouth, alongside progressing the reinstatement of a rail connection to Rosyth as part of the Forth Green Freeport initiative.  The group has invested significantly in port infrastructure to support the roll-out of ScotWind at Dundee and Leith, which will create high quality green jobs and help facilitate Scotland’s just transition to a Net Zero future.  In addition, the group has recently installed shore-side power at Leith and its new development, Tilbury2, is shore-side power enabled to help drive down in-port emissions from visiting vessels.

Scope 3 or supply chain emissions – Forth Ports is working with its supply chain to drive down the group’s Scope 3 emissions.  These mainly stem from the use of steel and aggregate when constructing infrastructure or the purchase of mobile port equipment and marine vessels.  The business is pro-actively engaging with suppliers to find fit-for-purpose, low carbon emission alternatives.  For example, the award-winning construction of Dundee’s renewables quay, called DunEco Quay, used steel pipes fabricated from reused or recycled materials. The port also created a paved storage area by reusing building and road materials from the onsite works, which avoided adding to landfill and reduced – or eliminated – road delivery miles for the aggregate, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon in the delivery of this project.

Forth Ports has collaborated with Fleete, a specialist in commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, to develop a charging hub at the Port of Tilbury. The Fleete Hub, when built, will provide charging for a range of electric vehicles for the port’s customers and workers, including light and heavy commercial vehicles, passenger cars and specialist vehicles. This innovative model allows the port’s customers to electrify their fleet without the challenges of building and financing their own charging infrastructure. Forth Ports and Fleete believe this model is a critical catalyst in decarbonising customers’ operations and reducing Forth Ports’ Scope 3 emissions.

5 October 2023                                           Ends