The downturn in offshore industry operations, a cyclical cruise season and lower fish landings have combined to reduce activity at Lerwick Harbour in the first nine months of 2015.
However, Lerwick Port Authority’s chief executive, Sandra Laurenson, said overall traffic numbers had held up well.
“We knew that the peak activity levels we enjoyed in recent years would not continue and our forecasts for the year to date are on target to match our predictions for 2015. Oil & gas activity is at the level we anticipated.”
Vessel arrivals between January and September were virtually unchanged – up 24 at 3,874 compared to the same period in 2014, with the tonnage down four per cent at 9.2 million gross tonnes, reflecting oil-related and cruise markets.
Cargo handled was down 11 per cent at 811,018 tonnes, including a 12 per cent drop in offshore shipments.
There was an eight per cent decrease in passengers to 142,594, with ferry numbers up 0.7 per cent at 112,164 and cruise down 30 per cent at 30,043, partly as a result of cancelled visits due to poor weather at sea.
Total fish landings at 37,095 tonnes were valued at £27.1 million in the first nine months, down 20 per cent on volume and 39 per cent on value. White fish at 7,286 tonnes was valued at £11.1 million, down 2.5 per cent on volume and 5.7 per cent on value, with a price per tonne decrease of 3.2 per cent to average £1,530 per tonne.
Winter mackerel landings were down in the early part of the year, and LPA says it is too soon to judge the delayed autumn fishery now underway.
Ms Laurenson said: “There are some positive signs. More herring has been landed in 2015 and at improved prices; a record-breaking cruise season is booked for 2016, with 70 vessels and more than 50,000 passengers, and the completion of expansion projects next year will reinforce our position as a leading centre for the fishing industry and supporting offshore subsea developments and decommissioning.”