Stuart Cresswell on Ayr & Troon Ports

Ayr Rotary welcomed Stuart Cresswell from The Association of British Ports talking about the history, successes and the exciting future for Ayr and Troon harbours

Stuart Cresswell     Stuart serves in a senior leadership role at Associated British Ports, UK’s largest port operating company .He has full operational and managerial responsibility for all Scottish Ports Operations, and has held senior roles in Scotland, North West and Hull, and has received several top performing business awards. In addition to his business portfolio, Stuart has remained committed to the growth and development of the local economy and has held several Non-Executive Director roles, including President of the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce for two years.

He has also served as Director of the Scottish Shipping Benevolent Association and Director of Ayr Renaissance and is a regular business commentator for Scottish Industry at Scottish and UK Government level engagements and business conferences. He also holds an MBA from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Stuart began by saying the Port of Ayr goes back to 1190 and 1236 when first mentions are made of its existance in history books. Ayr is the first commercial port encountered by vessels entering the Firth of Clyde. Together with their customers, ABP’s Scottish ports of Ayr and Troon contribute over £40 million to the UK economy every year, including £28 million locally. Every year, the Port of Ayr handles 340,000 tonnes of cargo and said Stuart there is the appetite, capacity and capability to handle more.

The Port of Ayr specialises in handling dry bulks, including salt, animal feed, heavy lift and forest products, of which it handles around 25,000 tonnes each year. It offers over 17,000sqm of storage for weather-sensitive cargoes and 2.7ha of open storage space and as part of the continuous investment programme to deliver the best possible customer service, Stuart said they have procured a £700,000 Scottish-built 12.75m pilot vessel which will further enhance the Scottish ports’ ability to handle vessels in all weather conditions.

In January 2019, Stuart confirmed that a £2.2 million investment in a new state-of-the-art warehouse at Ayr offering flexible storage solutions for a range of customers. The new, 4,000sqm facility is be located on the west side of Griffin Dock and is now completed.
In addition, in March 2018, the Port of Ayr became the first port in the UK to purchase the latest Liebherr Materials Handler crane, as part of their commitment to offer customers the benefits of the most advanced cargo-handling technology.

Stuart then turned his attention to the Port of Troon which he said plays an integral role in Scotland’s supply chains. Together with the port of Ayr, it contributes around £42 million to the UK economy. The Port of Troon is home to Timberlink, a sustainable distribution service which handles over 100,000 tonnes of timber each year across Scotland and Ireland and is a well-established and well-supported fishing port, but also has a crucial role in the UK’s timber trade, as well as handling an array of project cargoes. It is also a destination for smaller cruise vessels, providing access to the very best tourist attractions Scotland has to offer.

On the controversial move of the Arran ferry from Ardrossan to operate out of Troon allowing a multi-million pound transformation of Ardrossan Harbour, Stuart added that services will resume from Ardrossan once works are completed. The project – estimated to cost between £35 million to £40m – is expected to be completed by early 2024. A Scottish Government taskforce’s decision, which followed a review of all potential options, was guided by community requests in Arran to maximise the reliability of the alternative service for ferry users.

Alex Thomson gave a worthy vote of thanks