Travel and tourism made a greater contribution to activity at Lerwick Harbour in the first half of this year, with the number of passengers using the port increasing by 8.5 per cent to 56,008 compared with the same six month period last year.
There was also an increase in ferry passengers of 9.3 per cent to 52,260. Cruise passengers were down 2.2 per cent at 3,748, with the busy period coming now in the third quarter which will take the expected total to around 25,000 for the season.
Lerwick’s popularity as a port-of-call for yachts saw an increase of 35 per cent in arrivals to 258. Last Friday alone saw 40 yachts in at one time which, although a high number, was not a record.
Overall, vessel arrivals between January and June held steady, down 0.5 per cent at 2,742, with the reduction including cargo vessels, salmon carriers, oil-related standby and supply vessels, and tankers.
Although there was an increase in the tonnage of cruise vessels and diving support and construction ships, the total was down 7.7 per cent at four million gross tonnes. The port handled 386,624 tonnes of cargo, down 16.6 per cent.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “The Shetland economy is not entirely immune to the recession, and the figures underline the importance of our providing a modern, efficient port to help facilitate users’ activities and a diversity of traffic, now and in the future.”
Fish landings totalled 37,257 tonnes, valued at £32.6 million, a reduction of 53 per cent on volume and 5.7 per cent in value. The 5,557 tonnes of white fish landed were valued at £8.3 million, down five per cent on volume and 7.2 per cent on value, with the average price of £1,508 per tonne, lower by 2.2 per cent.
In the pelagic sector, winter mackerel landings were down in volume, but up in value. There were no significant industrial fish landings at Heogan, Bressay, during the period.