THE CONSORTIUM behind the bid for a Forth Green Freeport unveiled their vision today (10 October) for the major enhancement of the Rosyth port and waterfront areas within Fife. Babcock International, Forth Ports Group and Scarborough Muir Group’s sites within Rosyth and Burntisland, have the potential to deliver £1bn of investment and an estimated 7,000 new direct green jobs assuming business case approval in the new year. This will come from the development of nearly 150 hectares of land at Rosyth, identified as part of the prospective Forth Green Freeport.
Working with Fife Council – and other bid partners including City of Edinburgh Council, Falkirk Council, Edinburgh Airport and INEOS – the Forth Green Freeport will deliver high quality green manufacturing and logistics jobs, repurposing existing assets and driving new skills to accelerate a just transition to a low carbon future. The new, high-quality employment at Rosyth and Burntisland will build upon the existing business supply chain and sector expertise and will help drive regeneration of Mid Fife and beyond, with each port job estimated to be 50% more productive and 40% better paid than the average wage (UK Major Ports Group, 2022).
Newly created Green Freeport jobs at Rosyth would mainly serve activity such as shipping logistics, advanced manufacturing and shipbuilding, in addition to the assembly of offshore wind and low carbon energy generation. This will aim to deliver sustainable, inclusive economic growth along the Firth of Forth. It is a corridor with proven skilled labour markets, business expertise and identified sites, including those at Rosyth, Burntisland and Energy Park Fife in Methil. Job growth at Rosyth will generate employment and supply chain opportunities beyond the Fife Council area to City of Edinburgh and Falkirk Council areas respectively. It is expected that Burntisland will be a sister port facility to the newly created Renewables Hub at the Port of Leith, providing further deep water access and local supply chain capability as offshore wind deployment accelerates, with energy and low carbon growth creating new employment opportunities. Developments at the Port of Rosyth will enhance Scotland’s international connectivity and export capacity through a brand new freight hub.
The Forth Green Freeport bid proposes specific tax and customs sites within Fife at Rosyth and Burntisland, respectively. These are depicted in the enclosed to illustrate the transformational change that accelerated economic growth could have within Fife. Other identified locations and infrastructure across South West Fife and Mid Fife are also set to benefit and form a key part of the Forth Green Freeport bid. It was submitted to the UK and Scottish governments for assessment on 20th June 2022, and in summary seeks to re-industrialise Scotland, create large scale economic development, boost local supply chain growth, skills development and create a world-class manufacturing cluster. The bid has the potential to generate 50,000 new green jobs across Scotland and act as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing, unlocking £6 billion of private and public investment for the country.
The Forth Green Freeport builds on the Port of Rosyth’s strategic position adjacent to the M90, the Queensferry Crossing and national rail network. Charles Hammond OBE, CEO of Forth Ports Group, commented: “Scotland needs to boost its international connectivity and our plan for new freight hub and rail terminals will offer manufacturers and shippers a fast-track route to global and European markets directly via the North Sea. Our plan builds upon the recent DFDS announcement, which aims to see the return of a direct daily freight ferry route to northern Europe from Scotland, while offering an alternative to the congested Dover Straits and reducing dependence on road transport, while boosting trade.”
The vision for Rosyth also builds on the recent success at Babcock’s Rosyth facilities. David Lockwood, CEO Babcock International Group PLC, said: “The Green Freeport would enhance the multi-million pound investment in infrastructure, digitisation and skills at Babcock’s Rosyth facilities over the last decade and underpin our large-scale manufacturing capabilities. It would also complement our work with partners through the Arrol Gibb Innovation Campus – a global centre of excellence for large-scale advanced manufacturing, offering access to the latest industrial techniques and technology, innovation advice and skills development.”
Ronnie Muir, Director of Scarborough Muir Group, said: “Scotland is on the cusp of a green revolution, with offshore wind providing the catalyst for new, high-quality manufacturing and engineering employment along the Firth energy coast.
“Queensferry One is one of Scotland’s largest and best-connected strategic employment sites. Located on the Firth of Forth, the 120-acre development siteprovides an established hub for businesses in the green energy sector looking to scale their operations or improve supply chain efficiencies across the Central Scotland and beyond.
“Working with the Rosyth’s industrial cluster and innovation partners, Queensferry One will play a major role in delivering the green energy and low carbon logistics objectives of the Forth Green Freeport, while boosting the nation’s trading position.”
On 17th July 2022, the Danish-owned ferry operator, DFDS, signed an agreement with Ptarmigan Shipping to investigate the possibility of a new freight ferry route between Rosyth and the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. Next year, freight services are targeted to resume.