A continuing increase in oil-related activity at Lerwick Harbour is reflected in vessel traffic figures for the first nine months of 2006, with the number of offshore industry ships up 16% at 307 and the tonnage up 2.1% at 801,951 gross tonnes, compared to same period last year.
More fishing boats also contributed for the overall number of arrivals at the Shetland port rising by 3.3% to 4,064 between January-September. The total tonnage of shipping was down 4.7%, however, at 9,338,363 gross tonnes, due mainly to a decrease in calls by Smyril Line’s large roll-on/roll-off ferry, Norrona.
Despite fewer visits by the Norrona, total passenger numbers continued to increase – up 8.3% at 135,025. Cruise ship passengers rose by 48% to 25,966, while ferry passengers – Lerwick is also served by NorthLink Ferries – were up 1.8% at 109,059.
There was a large increase in white fish landings – 6,987 tonnes, valued at £9.8 million (up 32% on volume and 53% on value), with the average price per tonne growing by 16% to £1,412.
A big increase in herring landings over the summer partly offset the effect of the early closure of the mackerel fishery last winter, with the total pelagic landings for the year to the end of September at 51,929 tonnes (down 1.8%), valued at £21.6 million (down 20%).
Industrial species landed to the fishmeal and fish oil plant at Heogan, Bressay, were down 24% on volume to 24,176 tonnes, with the value up by 24% to £2.1M.
Total fish landings for the period were 83,322 tonnes, worth £34.3 million – down 4.2% on value and by 7.5% on volume, a factor in the overall cargo handled at the port being down 12.7% at 572,294 tonnes.
Allan Wishart, Lerwick Port Authority’s Chief Executive, said: “The varying fortunes in the different sectors underlines the importance of the harbour in continuing to be attractive to as wide a range of vessels and operators as possible. To ensure this, the Authority is committed to developing additional facilities to accommodate larger vessels and new business.”