Dragados UK withdraws from £350m Aberdeen harbour project

The principal contractor behind the £350 million Aberdeen harbour expansion has withdrawn from the project, citing the coronavirus crisis as well as “other factors” for the decision.

Dragados UK withdraws from £350m Aberdeen harbour project

Spanish-owned Dragados UK confirmed the move today which it said was taken following detailed discussions with Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB).

A spokesperson for Dragados UK said: “Dragados UK is proud of the progress achieved with this project but the COVID 19 emergency and other factors have meant that our involvement in the project has ended earlier than originally anticipated.

“We wish the project every success as it progresses towards completion.”

Dragados UK’s role on site will cease with effect from June 15, when AHB will take full responsibility for the site.

Speculation over the continued involvement of Dragados UK was heightened last week when AHB issued a £15m tender for “the completion of works” for the project.

Details on the Public Contracts Scotland website showed the port is seeking a contractor with the “ability to mobilise and commence works quickly”.

In line with Scottish Government guidance, activities on site are currently restricted to essential site protection works, safety and security measures.

Prior to this, Dragados UK had been working to a revised timetable on the development after technical challenges pushed the expected completion date out to 2021.

AHB said it was too early to confirm whether a new timeline would be required.

Michelle Handforth, chief executive, said: “This year’s summer season was of critical importance to the Aberdeen Harbour expansion project, as we endeavoured to complete a series of major construction milestones and continued to address the rock removal challenges first identified in October last year. The interruption to the schedule as a result of the COVID-19 emergency has had the effect of greatly compounding those existing challenges.

“It is too early at this stage to confirm what impact this will have on the construction timeline, especially given current COVID-19 restrictions, but the intention for a phased opening, when safe to do so, remains unaffected.”

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