Port users across various sectors have contributed to a strong first quarter performance at Lerwick Harbour.
There have been increases in cargo, passengers, fish landings, and tonnage of shipping compared to the same period last year.
The total cargo handled was up eight per cent at 222,195 tonnes, due mainly to higher frozen fish exports and imports of materials by roll-on/roll-off vessels in support of work ongoing in Shetland.
Passenger numbers on the Lerwick-Kirkwall-Aberdeen routes totalled 20,874, up 21 per cent compared to the first three months of 2012, when both roll-on/roll-off ferries underwent scheduled dry-docking.
Fish landings, at 23,182 tonnes, were valued at £20.8 million – up 55 per cent on volume and 48 per cent on value.
In the pelagic sector, winter mackerel landings increased substantially following low volumes in the 2012 season. White fish, at 2,348 tonnes was valued at £3.2 million – down 20 per cent on volume and 29 per cent on value, with the price per tonne down 11 per cent to average £1,372 per tonne.
Although vessel arrivals were down 16 per cent at 964 – mainly due to fewer small fishing boats – there was a 16 per cent rise to 2.45 million gross tonnes in the tonnage of all vessels calling, including a 30 per cent increase for oil-related shipping and a 26 per cent jump in the tonnage of vessels piloted.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said the figures reflected the trend in larger ships using Lerwick’s deep-water facilities, including for growing offshore industry project support.
Ms Laurenson said: “The broad spread of activity, adding up to an encouraging start of the year, underlines the importance of the harbour’s versatile facilities and continuing development.
“With the cruise season now underway and healthy bookings already for 2014, and support for offshore operations continuing to build, the future remains positive.”