Activity at Lerwick Harbour ended the first half of this year on a positive note, with cargo traffic showing signs of recovering, a strong performance by the passenger sector, a small rise in vessel arrivals and oil-related shipping increasing in June for the first month since December, 2008.
Despite the decrease in oil-related activity during January-June, overall traffic was up on the same period in 2009, with total vessel arrivals at 2,765 rising 0.8% and the tonnage by 7.3% at 4.3 million gross tonnes. There was a 14% increase in pilotage movements to 486, with the gross tonnage of vessels piloted rising 60% to 2,826,588 gross tonnes, mainly due to larger vessels using the port.
Activity levels earlier in the year meant that cargo for the six months showed a 1.9% decrease, at 379,170 tonnes.
There was a 19% increase in passengers to 66,546, with ferry passengers on the scheduled services to the Scottish mainland and Orkney up by 8% to 56,723 and the cruise season, which started in May and continued to build through June, bringing 9,823 passengers so far, a rise of 164%.
Victor Sandison, Deputy Chief Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The grounds for cautious optimism seen in the first quarter strengthened by mid-year, with further signs of a gradual recovery in activity. Cruise ships are expected to deliver a record season and there were indications of an upturn in key sectors such as cargo and oil-related traffic.
“Fish landings, however, continue to decrease, with problems being encountered due to the limited number of days-at-sea available to the white fish fleet. The increased average price for white fish is not able to counteract the drop in volume.”
Fish landings totalled 32,508 tonnes, valued at £26.2 million, down 13% on volume and 21% on value.
The 5,028 tonnes of white fish landed were valued at £8 million, a drop of 13% on volume and 9% on value. The price per tonne increased 5% to average £1,592 per tonne. In the pelagic sector, winter mackerel landings were down in volume and value, with remaining tonnage to be taken in the autumn fishery. There were landings of blue whiting to Shetland Catch for human consumption and a limited quantity landed at Heogan, Bressay, for fishmeal during the first quarter of the year.