Strong performance by fishing industry

Lerwick Harbour attracted increased cargo in the first half of this year, with port users shipping 402,803 tonnes to-and-from Shetland’s main commercial port, up 13% on the same period in 2006.

The continuing increase in oil-related vessels saw these arrivals increase 53% at 281 and tonnage up 73.5% at 915,455 gross tonnes. The total number of arrivals, at 2,320, was down 4.1% on the first six months of 2006, while the tonnage reduced by 10.5% to 4,593,977 gross tonnes.

The main factors were fewer calls by Smyril Line’s roll-on/roll-off ferry, Norrona; cruise ships and the two NorthLink roll-on/roll-off ferries being temporarily out-of-service for upgrading.

The marked trend to larger, but fewer vessels was ongoing and meant busier times for the port’s pilots, with services provided for 622 movements, a rise of 72.3%, with the tonnage of ships piloted up 52% to 2,286,193 gross tonnes.

The reduced ferry and cruise ship traffic meant the number of passengers dropped 12.2% to 54,493.

Fish landings recovered from the early cessation of last year’s mackerel season and rose 18.6% to 60,842 tonnes, with the value up 19.4% to £28.6 million.

Whitefish totalled 4,771 tonnes, worth £6.9 million, down 0.25% on volume and up 4.5% on value, with the price per tonne increasing by 4% to £1,448. Pelagic landings, at 25,706 tonnes and £16 million, were up 13.7% on volume and 8.8% on value.

There was also an increase in industrial landings at the Heogan fishmeal and fish oil plant, with 30,232 tonnes, valued at £5.2 million, up 27.6% on volume and 160% on value.

Sandra Laurenson, Chief Executive of Lerwick Port Authority, commented: “The statistics reflect the wide range of traffic using the port and the variety of influences on activity.

“Oil-related cargo, deliveries of fuel and frozen fish exports were the main features of the upturn in cargo, and there was another strong performance by the fishing industry. With encouraging signs across the sectors, a busy second half of the year is expected.”

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