The continuing increase in oil-related traffic at Lerwick Harbour has provided a boost to overall activity at the Shetland port this year where total cargo handled was up 13.5% at 651,250 tonnes in the first nine months compared to the same period in 2006.
The offshore industry’s shipments rose 92% to 100,784 tonnes, including a huge modules support frame brought ashore from the Frigg Field for decommissioning.
Between January and September, 422 oil-related vessels used the port, an increase of 37.5% and adding up to 1,344,489 gross tonnes, up 67.6%.
“Activity at the port this year has been influenced by a wide range of factors, which makes the oil-related performance all the more welcome,” said Lerwick Port Authority Deputy Chief Executive, Victor Sandison. “The port’s capacity to handle larger vessels continues to make an important contribution to activity.”
Reflecting the larger vessels now using the port, there were 981 pilotage movements during the nine months, up 64%, with 4.8 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted, an increase of 32%.
Overall vessel arrivals decreased 6% to 3,821, due to fewer calls by salmon workboats, fishing vessels and yachts and the two NorthLink roll-on/roll-off ferries being temporarily out-of-service for upgrading, as well as the reduced timetable for the ferry, Norrona, which was also the main factor in a fall in vessel tonnage, down 12.7% at 8,150,000 gross tonnes.
A total of 114,152 passengers used the port, down 15.5%, with a decline in both ferry passengers and in cruise ship passengers. Following a record year in 2006, the cruise ship season was hit by the cancellation of six visits due to adverse weather elsewhere forcing vessels to change itineraries.
There are currently 37 cruise ships booked for the 2008 season which compares favourably with bookings at the same point last year.
At 84,054 tonnes valued at £34 million, total fish landings were down 1.64% on volume and 3% on value. White fish landings totalled 6,698 tonnes, valued at £9.9 million, down 3.8% on volume and up 0.92% on value, with the average price up 5% to £1,482 per tonne.
In the pelagic sector, herring landings were down for the summer season, with mackerel up for the year to date. Industrial fish landings to the factory at Heogan, Bressay, were up on both volume and value.