Lerwick Harbour is often described as the "Port of Shetland", given its vital role in the life of the islands as the seaway for the importing and exporting of supplies, products, vehicles and livestock.
Investment by the Port Authority in deeper channels and berths, and in stronger quays to accommodate the larger vessels now operating, has facilitated the handling of freight, as well as vessels and cargoes in other sectors.
Around 900,000 tonnes of cargo – from essential supplies for islanders to materials and products for and from local industries - pass over Lerwick’s quays annually.
In addition to roll-on/roll-off freight/passenger services to Aberdeen and Orkney, NorthLink Ferries also operates frequent freight-only roll-on/roll-off vessels to the mainland Scottish port, to which a regular cargo vessel service is also provided by Streamline Shipping Group.
Livestock is also carried on NorthLink’s freight service and it provides livestock lairage facilities for animals awaiting shipment to the mainland. A purpose-built lairage facility was introduced in 2006 and has a holding capacity for up to 3,000 sheep.
A variety of other cargo vessels also use the port.
Lerwick is equipped for the fast and efficient handling of cargo, including: