Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) owns and operates the port, which is open 24 hours per day, offering deep-water berths and dedicated cargo-handling facilities for its customers, primarily those in the North Sea oil and gas industry. While classified as a “Trust Port,” the CFPA board are neither legal trustees nor a local authority. Ultimately accountable to the Scottish government, their sole purpose is to manage, maintain, and improve the harbor as an independent stand-alone body of eight members. The CFPA has no owners or shareholders, and all profits are reinvested in the harbor.
Today, the Cromarty Firth is Europe’s premiere port for inspection, maintenance, and repair of oil rigs. It is also a major service base for the deep-water subsea industry. Being an open user facility, oil-related companies can provide their own fabrication and engineering personnel. Local companies are also available with extensive experience in the field to support oil and gas operations.
Cromarty Firth facilities include modern dock facilities. The all-weather Queen’s Dock offers shelter for work on semi-submersibles and pontoons. The Invergordon Service Base operates 24 hours a day all year. It offers quays of 300 meters with alongside depths of 14 meters and one-thousand tons load-out capacity, 30 thousand square meters of secure storage, four thousand square meters of warehouse and workshops, and short- and long-term office space.
The port at Cromarty Firth offers fully-equipped bulk cargo-handling facilities at Saltburn with direct transport access and open and covered storage. Vessels up to 250 meters long with 11 meters draft can access the facilities at all tides. The Saltburn facilities offer dedicated cranes and hoppers and experienced stevedoring services. The port at Cromarty Firth has also been used to receive and assemble wind farm components for use in inland Scotland.
In 2003, CFPA joined Bannermans of Tain to create Cruise Highlands Limited to develop Cromarty Firth as a cruise ship destination. In 2008, it was awarded the Best Port Welcome Award at the Dream World Cruise Destination magazine’s Awards. In 2004, some 23 thousand cruise passengers visited the port on 40 cruise ship calls.