Banner Image
Ports and Harbours

Ports and harbours

Scotland's coast is home to 11 major ports and more than 200 smaller ports and harbours, which have a range of public and private operators.

These facilities form a crucial part of the country's 'blue economy', supporting activities including commercial fishing, leisure sailing and offshore energy.

Our role

We provide leases for areas of seabed on which ports and harbours are built and operated.

The bulk of our agreements in this sector relate to:

  • permanent reclamation, where seabed is reclaimed to form permanent new land; 
  • harbour infrastructure, where structures like breakwaters, harbour walls, and pontoons are built; and
  • dredging, where sediment is removed to create or maintain navigation channels

We grant terms for seabed agreements on a consistent basis whilst reflecting local circumstances. Agreements are generally reached by negotiation between the port operator and our managing agent team.

Master Agreements for seabed occupation are in place with some local authorities which set a framework for common terms and conditions, whilst being tailored to suit each individual circumstance. This approach was designed for mutual benefit when dealing with a single tenant with multiple agreements.

How we contribute

We commission research which supports the development of the ports and harbours sector, such as the Ports for Offshore Wind study.

We may also invest in port developments where they align with our strategic objectives.

Applying for seabed rights 

If you require seabed rights for a port or harbour project please contact our agents, Bidwells in the first instance to discuss your requirements. 

If your interest is in marine activity in the Orkney Marine Region, please contact the Pilot Programme Officer at You can learn more about Crown Estate Scotland’s Local Management Pilot Programme here or at