ORKNEY ISLANDS Council this week confirmed it is negotiating with major shipping firms, including Maersk, P&O and Evergreen, over funding to build the UK's biggest container terminal at Scapa Flow.
The Scapa Flow port will be designed for trans-shipment only, handling ships from north America, northern Europe and the Baltic, said Orkney director of harbours Captain Nigel Mills.
The £200M first phase will provide a 1M TEU a year (containers are measured in '20ft equivalent units') handling capacity. But two more phases will enlarge capacity to 3M a year. By comparison, Southampton handled just 920,000 TEU in 1999.
Scapa Flow hub will start with a 300m long quay, expanding to 1km, Mills said.
However, no dredging will be required as water depth is naturally 6m. Environmental costs will therefore be far lower, Mills claimed.