Upturn in 2007 reinforces commitment to future development

Lerwick Harbour handled a healthy increase in cargo in 2007, with shipments up 11.4% at 878,330 tonnes, compared to the previous year.

The main factor was a significant rise in offshore oil and gas industry traffic in a year which saw work begin at the port on its largest decommissioning project yet and the number of oil-related vessels calling up 14.5% at 559, adding up to 1,680,652 gross tonnes, an increase of 27.6%.

A total of 5,074 vessels arrived at the Shetland port, a drop of 3.9%, mainly due to a decrease in the number of salmon farm workboats, with shipping down 9.6% at 10,555,788 gross tonnes, principally because of fewer ferry visits.

Pilotage services for the year showed an increase of 42% at 1,285, with the total tonnage of vessels piloted rising 25% at 6,124,141 gross tonnes, largely as a result of the increased oil-related traffic.

Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: “The variety of factors influencing activity in 2007 and the upturn in cargo handled underline our commitment to the continuing development of traffic, facilities and services. This will be another significant year, with a major dredging and reclamation project underway, leading to future opportunities.”

Total fish landings at 112,730 tonnes, valued at £55 million, were up 8.1% on volume, and 12.5% on value. These include white fish landings, steady at 8,653 tonnes and £12.94 million (2006 - 8,786 tonnes and £12.91 million), with an average price per tonne of £1,495, (2006 - £1,470). Pelagic fish landings and landings to the fishmeal and fish oil plant on Bressay both increased in tonnage and value.

With passenger traffic on the Orkney and Aberdeen routes influenced by NorthLink’s two ferries being out-of-service for a period for upgrading and more competition from the Air Discount Scheme on plane fares; by the reduced timetable for Smyril Line’s ferry, Norrona; and by fewer cruise passengers due to less larger ships and a number of calls cancelled because of bad weather in the North Sea, the season saw 135,595 passengers visiting (down 13.85%).

The port again attracted more than 40 cruise ships – 42, compared to 43 the previous year, and over 400 yachts (404 against 452 in 2006).

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