The oil and gas industry has continued to take full advantage of Lerwick Harbour’s expanded deep-water infrastructure which helped attract increased traffic in 2013.
The number of oil-related vessels calling jumped 9.6 per cent to 683, compared to 2012, with the tonnage up 28 per cent to 3.8 million gross tonnes and the cargo handled by 36 per cent to 189,090 tonnes.
A total of 5,416 vessel arrivals last year, up 4.9 per cent, with the tonnage of all ships ahead by 5.5 per cent to 13.2 million gross tonnes.
Use of the port by larger vessels is again demonstrated by pilotage movements, up 7.6 per cent to 1,502, with 10.2 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted, up 5.3 per cent.
Total cargo across the port’s near-4,000 metres of quays rose by 17 per cent to 1,169,108 tonnes.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “In a very busy year, our investment in enhanced facilities again paid off.
“On top of regular traffic, the port handled various projects demonstrating the capacity of the deep-water harbour, including storing and transhipping modules weighing up to 450 tonnes for the Shetland Gas Plant and accommodating several floatels housing construction workers.
“The outlook is positive for the foreseeable future and we are progressing further developments to maximise the opportunities in various sectors.”
Fish landings totalled 66,745 tonnes, valued at £62.5 million, up 8.6 per cent on volume and 23 per cent on value.
The 10,940 tonnes of white fish were valued at £17 million, up 14 per cent on volume and 9.3 per cent on value, with the price per tonne down four per cent to average £1,553 per tonne. In the pelagic sector, mackerel landings increased and there were no blue whiting and less herring landed.
Passengers on ferries between Lerwick and Orkney and Aberdeen increased seven per cent to 133,028 in 2013. As previously reported, cruise passenger numbers decreased – by 29 per cent to 26,684 – resulting in a minor reduction of 0.85 per cent in total passenger numbers to 160,445.
Ms Laurenson added: “The cruise season was affected by one-off factors relating to specific operators. Bookings for this year indicate a strong recovery, with around 46,000 passengers expected.”