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Monday, 19 February, 2001, 07:31 GMT
Shipping boost for Scapa Flow
Oil tanker
The port would be able to deal with 'supertankers'
Plans for a massive container port in Scapa Flow, which could create up to 2000 jobs, should be given the go-ahead, according to a report.

A feasibility study, commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, says that plans for the container port are "commercially attractive and should be taken further forward".

It is understood the vast development, if approved, would could cost up to 470m.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise said the container port could be operational by the year 2006 if a funding package is approved.

Scapa Flow served as the Royal Navy's main anchorage during both world wars.

'Giant freighters'

Since the 1970s it has dealt with tanker traffic from the Flotta oil terminal.

In recent years it has acted as a staging post for smaller shuttle tankers from North Sea fields to transfer their cargos into supertankers for long-haul voyages.

Now the plan is to adapt that principle, turning Scapa Flow into a massive container port where giant freighters from North America and South east Asia could exchange cargos with smaller ships sailing out of the shallower ports around Europe.

The feasibility study, which was published on Monday, concluded that the plans should be taken forward.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has described the findings as "very encouraging".

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