Minster hails “coherence and ambition” of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

The UK Government’s Levelling Up Secretary, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, has hailed the potential of the new Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) during a visit to the Port of Nigg.

The Secretary of State said he was “incredibly impressed” by the way partners, which include organisations from the private and public sectors and academia, were working together to establish the Green Freeport.

During his visit, Mr Gove, who was accompanied by Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP, Jamie Stone, met a number of ICFGF representatives, including Green Freeport Chief Executive Calum MacPherson, Roy MacGregor, Chief Executive of Port of Nigg owner the Global Energy Group, and Highland Council leader, Raymond Bremner.

Mr Gove said: “There is a sense of coherence and ambition that is particularly impressive.

“Manufacturing has to be part of the Highlands’ future.”

The Secretary of State added that the Green Freeport would create new jobs, attract investment and lead to high quality opportunities for young people in the area.

From left to right: Roy MacGregor – Global Energy Group Chairman, Raymond Bremner – Highland Council leader, Calum MacPherson – ICFGF Chief Executive, Rt Hon Michael Gove – UK Government Levelling Up Secretary, and, Jamie Stone MP.

His Majesty The King Visits Port of Nigg

In an historic occasion, the Port of Nigg – owned and operated by Global Energy Group – received a visit from The King on Tuesday 8th August.

The port, which is a key facility within the Inverness & Cromarty Green Freeport and renowned for its vital role in supporting the offshore energy industry, provided The King with a tour of its state-of-the art facilities and showcased the vital work being undertaken onsite.

Upon his arrival, The King was welcomed by Roy MacGregor OBE, Chairman of Global Energy Group, and His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Mrs. Joanie Whiteford, followed by introductions to key industry stakeholders, representatives from GEG, and officials from both the private and public sector.

Roy MacGregor OBE, expressed profound gratitude to the visit, stating, “We were honoured to welcome His Majesty to the Port of Nigg. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the Port of Nigg’s achievements, the dedication of our community, and our commitment to being at the forefront of innovation and sustainability.”

During the visit, His Majesty took the opportunity to interact with the Port’s dedicated workforce, who are responsible for ensuring its seamless functionality and the delivery of critical renewable energy developments.

He was also introduced to apprentices and instructors from the Nigg Skills Academy, a “not for profit” training provider based at the Port, offering essential training in engineering, fabrication, and welding.

The King’s visit followed in the footsteps of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who previously visited Nigg in 1974, to witness the site’s development and emergence as a North Sea fabrication powerhouse.

Before leaving, The King was invited to sign the Port’s visitors’ book and unveil a plaque to commemorate the visit. He was also presented with a custom tartan scarf made by Black Isle fashion designer, Siobhan Mackenzie, and a bottle of malt whisky from Alness-based Dalmore Distillery.

His Majesty’s visit will leave a lasting impact on the Port of Nigg, fostering new connections and furthering the port’s reputation as a centre of excellence in the energy industry.

Green Freeport looks to local expertise as it appoints trio of service suppliers

Human resources consultancy The HR Department Highlands is among the first three firms appointed to supply services for the new Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF).

ICFGF also today announced the appointment of leading Scottish accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael, as well as public relations and communications agency Morrison Media, both of which have offices in the Highlands.

The appointments were welcomed by ICFGF Chief Executive Calum MacPherson, who formally took up his role with the organisation this month.

Based in Inverness, The HR Dept Highlands was launched in 2021 by Kim Hunter and provides outsourced employment law and human resources support to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the north of Scotland.

Ms Hunter said: “The award of Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth has meant the spotlight is firmly on the area and all the communities and businesses within it.

“The excitement for us, as a people-focussed business, is the investment and job creation it can bring. That is so important to this area.

“We are very proud to have been awarded supplier status by ICFGF and are looking forward to working with them to deliver their people strategy.”

Established in Moray over 85 years ago and with a network of offices in 14 locations, including Cradlehall Business Park, Inverness, Johnston Carmichael is Scotland’s largest independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers.

The firm has been engaged to provide outsourced finance services to ICFGF, supporting the organisation with recurring monthly services including payroll and management accounts, as well as annual statutory accounts and compliance.

Kirsty Reynolds, Director and Head of Outsourced Finance Services at Johnston Carmichael, said: “We are pleased to have been selected to deliver this contract and we firmly believe that the area is in a unique position to support and enable job creation and economic growth which could bring transformative change across the Highlands and Scotland as a whole.

“As members of the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium since 2021, we were happy to see its bid succeed earlier this year. We’re now looking forward to working with the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport team to help capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Morrison Media, which opened an office in the Highlands in 2021, provided communications and public affairs support to the OCF consortium from its launch and throughout the successful campaign to win Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth.

Managing Director, John Morrison, who founded the company in 2012, said: “It was tremendous to be part of a winning team that brought together businesses, the public sector and academia in a way that had never been done before in the Highlands to create this fantastic opportunity for the area.

“It was a campaign that really focussed the attention of decision-makers on the attributes, capabilities and massive potential of the region.

“We are absolutely delighted that, with the award of this contract, we will be continuing on this exciting and vital journey as the Green Freeport is established and developed.”

The three companies were appointed following competitive tendering processes.

Mr MacPherson, said: “As we continue the process of setting up the Green Freeport, we are very pleased to be able to announce the appointments of these three companies, all of which have an established presence in the Highlands.

“Each has well proven and highly regarded expertise in their own fields, as well as in-depth knowledge of working in this unique region of the UK and we look forward to working with them.

“Since January’s announcement that Inverness and the Cromarty Firth had succeeded in its bid for Green Freeport status, a huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes and a great deal of progress has been made. We look forward to making further announcements over the coming weeks.”

Inverness-born Mr MacPherson, who previously held a number of senior roles with Robertson Group, took up the post of ICFGF Chief Executive on Monday.

Minister briefed on Green Freeport progress during visit to Port of Cromarty Firth

Scottish Trade and Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead this week visited the Port of Cromarty Firth (PoCF) at Invergordon.

During the visit, the minister was given a briefing on the latest progress being made in establishing the new Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF).

Mr Lochhead met Calum MacPherson, who on Monday took up the post of ICFGF Chief Executive, along with PoCF Chief Executive, Bob Buskie, and the organisation’s Strategic Business Development Manager, Joanne Allday.

The minister also toured facilities at the Port, where some of the XXL monopile foundations for the Moray West offshore wind farm are currently being marshalled.

Mr Lochhead said: “It was encouraging to hear more about plans for Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

“This aims to attract trade, develop businesses and promote regeneration, and to boost the economy in the Highlands and in Scotland more widely.

“The Green Freeport is well placed to make the most of the opportunities that come from the just transition to a net zero economy.”

Mr Buskie said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome the minister to Invergordon today and we appreciate him taking the time to come to the Port.

“His visit gave us the opportunity to show him at first hand the variety of work that is currently going on here and to discuss future developments.

“It also enabled us to fully brief him on the huge amount of activity that has been going on behind the scenes since Inverness and the Cromarty Firth was announced as the location of one of Scotland’s two new Green Freeports earlier this year.”

PoCF’s new Quay West facility is being used for marshalling for the Moray West offshore wind farm project.

Pete Geddes, Project Director for the Moray West offshore wind farm, said: “We’ve been delighted to welcome Richard Lochhead MSP to our monopile marshalling site at Invergordon port.  

“We were able to convey the sheer scale of the foundations by getting up close, with 16 of the total of 62 having been safely unloaded at the port.

“The investment in the port has been supported by our earlier project, Moray East, and now Moray West. We look forward to successfully installing the monopiles from Invergordon, benefitting from the new laydown area and deep-water quayside.  

“Having worked with Scottish Government agencies to facilitate the port expansion we remain engaged with government to ensure future offshore wind projects, including the Ocean Winds projects, can be delivered promptly and expand the benefits for Scotland including further ports expansion.”

Hugh Mitchell (Chair, PoCF), Alistair McIntosh (Programme Director Green Freeports, Scottish Government), Roger McMichael (Stakeholder Manager, Moray West), Richard Lochhead MSP (Minister for Small Business, Innovation Tourism and Trade), Bob Buskie (CEO, PoCF)