Increased traffic in 2011 among encouraging factors.

Positive signs for activity at Lerwick Harbour in 2012 point to another busy year in prospect at the Shetland port following increased traffic across various sectors in 2011.

Vessel arrivals and tonnage of shipping were both up last year, with the deep-water port’s capacity to accommodate larger vessels now operating in the offshore and cruise industries reflected in the higher number of piloted movements. There were increases in cargo and passengers handled, while the value of fish landings rose.

Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, said: “The strong performance by various sectors last year underpins positive signs for 2012. While all these sectors have their particular challenges, we are cautiously optimistic that offshore-related activity will be sustained, particularly through project support; there are already more than 50 cruise ships booked to visit and there has been a good start to the year for white fish landings.

“We continue to invest in the development of the port to maximise current activities and new opportunities – the latter including future decommissioning of offshore installations, both topsides and subsea.”

Figures for 2011, released today, show that, compared with 2010:

  • There were 5,422 vessel arrivals, up 1.5%, with the tonnage of vessels at 11.2 million gross tonnes up 15%.
  • The offshore oil and gas industry accounted for 571 arrivals, up 55%, with the 1.98 million gross tonnes a rise of 55%.
  • Pilotage movements rose 15.5% to 1,212, with 7.1 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted, up 13.6%.
  • Cargo increased 4% to 880,099 tonnes, including 99,213 tonnes of oil-related shipments, up 60%
  • There was an increase of 1.2% in passengers to 160,467, with ferry passengers up by 1.5% to 129,720, and cruise passengers remaining steady at 30,747.
  • Total fish landings at 65,659 tonnes were valued at £80.9 million, – down 19% on volume and up 18% on value.

Landings of white fish at 9,053 tonnes were valued at £16.8 million - down 5.8% on volume and up 7% on value, with the average per tonne rising 13.8% to £1,857. Pelagic fish was down 20% on tonnage and up 21.6% by value, due to no blue whiting being landed in 2011 and a reduced volume of mackerel landed, offset by very high mackerel prices. Herring landings were up in both tonnage and value.

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