Activity at pre-covid levels

The latest activity report from Lerwick Port Authority shows traffic at the Shetland port has made a very positive impact in the first half of 2023 and returned to, or in some sectors, exceeded pre-Covid levels.

There were 2,432 vessel arrivals in the six months to June, an 11% increase overall compared to the same period last year. The arrivals include increases of 15% in fishing vessels and 6% in oil-related shipping. The overall tonnage of vessels at 5,992,043 gross tonnes, was also up 0.6% on 2022 figures. Comparisons for the period include handling shipments of Viking Windfarm components in the first half of 2023, compared to the one-off impact of the delivery of the Ninian Northern Jacket for decommissioning in the same period in 2022.

There were reductions in cargo, down 3% at 424,195 tonnes overall and down 7% for roll-on/roll-off cargo, which reflected increased cargo in the first half of 2022 as a result of the ferries being used to transport sand and aggregates during the construction of the Viking Windfarm.

A total of 108,732 passengers, on ferries and cruise ships, used the port in the January-June period, a 24% increase, compared to the same period 2022 when numbers were still returning to normal post-covid.

There were 123,180 boxes of whitefish landed at Lerwick in the first half, a 1% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Landings remain steady, with prices holding. Pelagic landings continue to be strong.

Captain Calum Grains, Port Authority Chief Executive, commented: “The encouraging first-half figures continued the recovery to pre-covid levels, reflecting positive contributions made by recent energy sector project activity.

“Growth in Shetland’s cruise industry means the prospect of a record season, and strong visitor numbers supporting the marine tourism sector. Significant efforts were focused on port preparations for the return of The Tall Ships Races in July.”

“The period also saw positive engagements with developers on the potential for future marine support for windfarm projects.”

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