Hundreds of jobs to be created as Japanese firm invests in freeport

Sumitomo Electric Ltd has confirmed a £350m investment at the Cromarty Firth site.

The Highlands is celebrating an international deal that promises to create hundreds of jobs at the region’s recently-approved freeport.

Japanese firm Sumitomo Electric Ltd has confirmed a £350m investment at the Cromarty Firth site, which will see a giant factory.

The Easter Ross site’s designation as a “green freeport” was a deciding factor in the company investing in a new factory that will supply high-voltage cables to offshore windfarms.

Calum MacPherson, chief executive of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Freeport, said: “They cited this area becoming a green freeport as pivotal for their decision to come here, so all that time and hard work is paying off.

“But more significantly I think, for this region and for the UK as a whole, this is manufacturing, the very kind of jobs we’ve been after for a very long time.

“The assembly, the martialling, the things we’ve been doing have been fantastic but to get this level of investment for a core manufacturing component of offshore wind in our region is a huge win.”

There is optimism the deal marks the dawn of a new era for fabrication, in a time of transition away from oil, and will help attract other blue chip companies to the Cromarty Firth.

Stuart Black, chief executive of the development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “The first email I got about the green freeport was actually from Japan, congratulating the area on achieving that status.

“We hope to see many more inward investments like this coming to the Highlands. The first one is always the most challenging but once we get that over the line we’re confident that we’ll see many more.”

The freeport expects to create more than 10,000 jobs locally in the coming decades.

A taxpayer contribution of almost £25m helped clinch the £350m deal for a factory close to the Port of Nigg yard.

Energy secretary Mairi McAllan said: “Sumitomo are a highly successful, very established company who we have been in contact with for years and who, on a commercial basis, have decided that Scotland is the place in the whole of Europe that they want to make their investment.

“I think that speaks volumes of our potential and why companies like Sumitomo want to invest here. And I think their commercial decision to do so speaks for itself in terms of the long term prospects.”

Some people have already been recruited by the Japanese company and hundreds more jobs will advertised in the coming months.

Sumitomo expects to be fully operational on the firth by mid-2026.

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