Continuing growth in activity at Lerwick Harbour in recent months has helped increase cargo handled in the first three-quarters of 2005 by 12% to more than 650,500 tonnes, compared with the same period last year.

The nine months to end-September also saw vessel arrivals rise by 0.5% to 3,935, with the tonnage of shipping up 1.7% at 9.8 million gross tonnes, again also reflecting the larger vessels now calling at the Shetland port.

Higher offshore industry traffic, including support for a pipe-laying project, was the main feature behind the increase in both cargo and shipping.

The latest statistics from Lerwick Port Authority show fish landings at 89,164 tonnes, worth £34.5 million, for the nine months – up 3.4% by volume and 48.7% by price, due mainly to the value of herring and mackerel landed. White fish landings were steady, and achieved a 12.6% increase in value to an average £1,194 per tonne.

With a rise in the number of passengers using roll-on/roll-off ferry services at the port offset by a drop in visitors arriving by cruise ships, there was a decrease of 1.2% in the overall total of passengers to 124,346.

Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Allan Wishart, said: “The continuing overall growth in activity is a positive trend for the Shetland economy to which the port makes a major contribution.

“There are positive signs for the future, including in the offshore industry and in the passenger sector, with 40 cruise ships already booked for next year and changes underway in relation to ferry company operations.”

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