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Encouraging first quarter at Lerwick Harbour

Positive performances across sectors, including offshore industry.

The latest activity report from Lerwick Port Authority shows that traffic at the Shetland harbour increased across sectors in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2018.

Port Authority Chief Executive, Captain Calum Grains, said: “With diversity of activity a cornerstone of our operations, it’s great to have started the year with positive performances in the various sectors.

“Signs of recovery in the offshore industry, with marked rises in arrivals and cargo, are particularly welcome after the severe market downturn of recent years. With the higher oil price and growing industry enthusiasm for west of Shetland, hopefully the trend will continue.”

The number of vessel arrivals between January and March increased 26.2% to 1,046, including fishing vessels up 23%, fishing-related workboats consigning mussels up 135%, and a 45% jump in offshore sector shipping, with the tonnage of vessels up 125.3%. Overall tonnage increased 9.27% to 1,959,030 gross tonnes.

Port Authority pilots guided 911,776 gross tonnes of shipping, up 68%, with movements up 67.7%% at 166.

A 5% increase in cargo to 173,070 tonnes, included offshore-related freight higher by 189% and roll-on/roll-off ferry shipments up 5%.

There was a 9.9% rise to 20,242 in passenger numbers on ferries serving the Aberdeen-Kirkwall routes. With the expected record-breaking cruise season getting underway in this quarter, with two calls, overall footfall at the port was on a par with the first three months of 2018.

There were 60,011 boxes of white fish landed, a 1.24% increase and an average price of £1,830 per tonne.

“Lerwick is set for another significant period of activity. Alongside a cautiously optimistic outlook for offshore, the Authority looks forward to record-breaking cruise calls, preparations for the Ninian Northern platform’s arrival for decommissioning in 2020, renewal of the Northern Isles ferry contract in the autumn and ongoing construction work to complete a new white fish market early next year.” commented Captain Grains.

Positive signs of recovery in the offshore industry saw an uplift in oil and gas vessel movements at Lerwick Harbour for the first quarter of 2019. Credit: Alexander Simpson

Positive signs of recovery in the offshore industry saw an uplift in oil and gas vessel movements at Lerwick Harbour for the first quarter of 2019. Credit Alexander Simpson.