Lerwick Harbour ended the third quarter of 2018 with a continuing upward trend in a number of areas of activity.
The downturn in offshore operations had an ongoing impact on overall freight handled in the first nine months, compared with the same period in 2017.
Statistics for January to September, released by Lerwick Port Authority, show that vessel arrivals jumped by 8.4 per cent to 3,933, with tonnage up 8.7 per cent at 10.2 million gross tonnes. This was mainly due to more cruise ships, fishing boats and roll-on/roll-off ferries with NorthLink providing a third freight ferry for peak periods from mid-September.
Despite an increase in oil-related standby and seismic vessels, the decrease in heavy lift vessels and support ships meant the decline in offshore traffic continued, resulting in total cargo across the deep-water port’s quays, down 11 per cent at 622,862 tonnes.
Port authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “There were positive signs over the nine months, but the low level of activity in the offshore industry continues to disappoint.
“That market is expected to remain quiet in 2019, with decommissioning work at Lerwick picking up again in 2020.
“Next year will see new records set in the cruise sector. Construction is continuing apace on the new whitefish market, for completion in early 2020.”
More detailed figures in Friday’s Shetland Times.