Perth council chiefs have decided to retain ownership of the city’s harbour after a marketing exercise was held to gauge interest from potential buyers.
The River Tay facility, which is regarded as one of Scotland’s key commercial ports, was the subject of a campaign aimed at attracting private-sector investment.
The local authority insisted that the harbour was not up for sale but the initiative was simply to “test the water”.
A spokeswoman confirmed that the harbour would stay in council ownership for the foreseeable future.
It followed behind-closed-doors discussions at a meeting of the full council.
She said: “The council was not convinced that the stage-one marketing exercise demonstrated a compelling alternative to retaining the harbour in public ownership.
“It was, therefore, agreed to conclude the marketing process and instead prepare options for proposals for developing the harbour within council ownership.”
She added: “The council considers this the best approach to safeguard this strategic asset for the future.”
The council said that a report on the marketing drive had been considered in private to “protect commercial interests”.
A price tag was never revealed, although the value of the council’s property interests in the area is understood to be about £750,000.
The working sea port is seen as a lower-cost alternative to larger coastal ports and lies just 30 miles from the North Sea.
Perth’s location at the centre of Scotland’s transport network and at the gateway to the Highlands was seen to offer strategic benefits to businesses.
Approximately 90% of Scotland’s population can be accessed within a 90-minute drive of Perth, and Scotland’s two major airports are accessible in less than an hour.
Perth Harbour operates 24 hours a day and coastal and dry bulk ships up to 90 metres in length, carrying up to 2,500 tonnes of cargo from Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia dock at its four main berths.
Operations work in time with the tides to ensure maximum efficiency.
In many respects, the harbour is one of the reasons why Perth was founded in its present location, at the farthest navigable point on the River Tay.