New quays expand versatile facilities

Shipping at Lerwick Harbour increased in the first nine months of this year, with arrivals up 3% at 3,992 and vessel tonnage by 8% at 10 million gross tonnes on the same period in 2015. A record cruise season was a key factor in the rises, with more workboats, salmon boats and yachts also contributing to higher figures.

Although there were fewer oil-related vessels – down 21% – the bigger average size meant the tonnage was unchanged at 2.2 million gross tonnes.

Captain Calum Grains, Harbourmaster and Deputy Chief Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, commented: “Vessels contributing to the increases are an indicator of the diversity of shipping at the harbour where the variety of traffic is one of our strengths. Our ability to service a wide range of port users is all the more important given the continuing severe downturn in the offshore oil and gas industry.

“Capacity to do so is significantly expanded with the recent completion of two new quays, for use by the oil, fishing and cruise industries, in particular.”

Cargo over the port’s 4,500-plus metres of quays between January and September was down 10% at 728,000 tonnes, including an 18.5% drop in offshore industry shipments

Passenger numbers on the roll-on/roll-off ferries between Lerwick and Orkney and Aberdeen held up well, although completion of construction at the Shetland Gas Terminal meant the total was down 2.4% to 109,452. However, overall passenger numbers at the port were up 11.7% to 159,270, thanks to a 63% increase to 49,818 in cruise ship passengers between April and September. Lerwick’s best cruise season yet ended in October, with a record 50,723 passengers. Another record season is in prospect for 2017.

Total fish landed, at 35,016 tonnes, was valued at £31 million, down 5.6% on volume and up 14% on value. The 7,165 tonnes of white fish were valued at £12 million, down 1.6% on volume and up 8% on value, with the average price per tonne increased 10% to £1,679. In the pelagic sector, the volume of herring landed was down, but prices improved.

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