Oil-related activity at Lerwick Harbour is showing a significant increase this year, with arrivals of offshore industry vessels, their tonnage and cargo handled all up by more than half in the first nine months compared with the same period in 2010.
Sustained activity in the third quarter brought the number of oil-related vessels using the Shetland port between January and September to 426, up 55% on the comparable figure last year, while the tonnage increased 58% to 1.4 million gross tonnes and the cargo by 55% to 64,875 tonnes.
Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority’s Chief Executive, said: “The harbour’s valuable contribution to the offshore industry’s activities is reflected not only in the increasing traffic, but also in the continuing development of the port’s deep-water infrastructure to service operations and support future decommissioning projects.”
While the overall tonnage of vessels increased by 15% to 8.8 million gross tonnes – once again reflecting larger ships using the harbour - total arrivals were down 1.7% at 4,177, mainly due to fewer fishing vessels.
The use of the port by larger vessels – including the two biggest cruise ships yet this summer – is also indicated by pilotage figures, with 916 movements, up 9.8%, with 6 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted, a rise of 9.7%.
With the number of cruise passengers virtually unchanged at a near-record 30,747 (down by 0.3%) in another busy season, and ferry passengers increasing by 1.3% to 106,723, the total of 137,470 passengers showed a rise of 1.3%.
Cargo shipped through the port held steady at 622,562 tonnes - up 0.3%.
Total fish landings at 48,946 tonnes were valued at £55.7 million – down 26 % on volume and up 4.8% on value.
White fish at 6,757 tonnes had a value of £12.2 million – down 10% on volume and up 2.5% on value for a price per tonne increased by13.8% to average £1,813 per tonne.
There were 41,480 tonnes of pelagic fish landed, valued at £41.6 million – down 27% on volume and up 5.5% on value. While blue whiting did not feature this year, due to the tiny quota allocated for this species in 2011, it was a good summer herring fishery in August. Mackerel figures to end-September reflect a later start to the autumn mackerel fishery which has seen good landings into October.