Inverness Chamber of Commerce has joined Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), the dynamic partnership of private, public and academic sector bodies committed to ensuring that the Cromarty Firth becomes a Scottish Green Freeport.
The chamber, the largest independent business organisation based in the Highlands, joins fellow OCF members including Port of Cromarty Firth, Global Energy Group, Highland Resources, Port of Inverness, The University of the Highlands and Islands, The Highland Council, and accountants Johnston Carmichael.
OCF believes a Firth Freeport will maximise local and Scotland-wide benefits from a pipeline of renewable energy projects and place the Highlands at the heart of the drive towards net-zero.
The region hosts a number of leading supply chain companies as well as a locally skilled workforce with essential engineering experience. This is coupled with first-class port infrastructure and manufacturing facilities in the Cromarty Firth, which have benefited from more than £110m of industry-led investments in recent years.
It is anticipated that a Cromarty Firth Green Freeport will stimulate further economic activity and attract inward investment in innovative renewable energy technologies, equipping local people and businesses with skills and technologies to bring transformational regeneration to the Highlands with benefits across the country.
Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be joining Opportunity Cromarty Firth and give our full backing to the bid to create a Scottish Green Freeport in the heart of the Highlands.
“Our businesses have long supported OCF and the enormous benefits that Green Freeport status will bring not only to the Highlands but also Scotland as a whole. In the run-up to the naming of the successful bids, we wanted to translate this support into full membership of the consortium.
“Working closely with other Highland Chambers of Commerce, we believe we are uniquely placed to ensure Highland-based SMEs benefit fully from the opportunities that will be realised from a successful bid.
“In our opinion there is no other location in the entire nation better positioned to become a Green Freeport.”
Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of Port of Cromarty Firth – speaking on behalf of Opportunity Cromarty Firth – said: “We are delighted that Inverness Chamber of Commerce has joined the OCF steering group. The business expertise and experience their members bring to the table will provide a huge boost as we work towards finalising our bid for a Green Freeport.
“Through our collective assets and resources we will continue working to champion the establishment of a Highlands Green Freeport.”