Salmon transport firm in £2m expansion

Salmon transport firm in £2m expansion

A SCOTTISH logistics company, with aquaculture at the heart of its business, is expanding, with a new depot in Aberdeen.

Northwards, which has bases in Lerwick and Kirkwall in the Northern Isles, as well as in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Scrabster, has invested more than £2 million in the 20,000 sq ft depot, with a £1.2 million funding package from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The company said the move to the new depot further cements its ambitious expansion plans, with turnover more than doubling over the last seven years.

It intends on further growing its presence across the country, providing distribution and haulage services to customers in the oil and gas, retail and aquaculture sectors.

Last year, Northwards said its business ‘has at its heart, a reliance on the aquaculture industry where we bring essential retail goods to the islands and efficiently transport salmon south’.

In a written submission to Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, which conducted an inquiry into the salmon farming industry, the transport company said: ‘Northwards employs 85 people throughout the depot locations, with the majority based in the Northern Isles.

‘We have invested over £4 million over the last six years and continue to grow the business. The lifeline ferry service, which is essential for the economic development progress of the islands, is substantially buoyed by the freight revenues from the salmon industry.’

It added: ‘Northwards has pioneered innovation in equipment in order to move chilled salmon from the Northern Isles towards the markets. The recent acquisition of insuliners (trailers) is now being adopted by others.

‘Some 70,000 tonnes of feed is transported efficiently to the isles. These movements are a key part of the logistical supply chain.’

Northwards was formed in 2002 following a management buyout from P&O Scottish Ferries of its freight, haulage and maintenance operations.

In 2011, Sea-Cargo Aberdeen became a majority shareholder in the company, increasing its expertise and providing transport links to Norway and Western Europe.

The new Aberdeen depot is a significant investment, said Northwards, and will enable the company to continue on its expansion path and create new jobs for the local community.

Michael Porter, managing director of Northwards, said: ‘The acquisition of a new transportation depot is an important step in our expansion and we’re grateful to Royal Bank of Scotland for supporting our investment.

‘The new facility will enable us to continue to enhance and grow the portfolio of services available to our customers while creating new jobs for the surrounding areas.’

Martin Ramsay, relationship director at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: ‘Royal Bank of Scotland is proud to support Northwards on the purchase of its new transportation hub.

‘The company is extremely well known in Aberdeen and has a prominent presence within Scotland’s transportation and logistics industry.

‘The new hub will enable the company to continue its upwards trajectory, create new jobs and offer additional services to both new and existing customers. We wish the team all the best at their new base.’

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