Port Authority optimistic after increased offshore activity

Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) has welcomed an “encouraging” period as increased offshore activity continued into the third quarter.

In the first nine months of 2019 cargo handled for the oil and gas sector was up 77 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

Vessel arrivals were 14 per cent higher, at 289, and the tonnage of shipping rose by 47 per cent to 1,534,941 gross tonnes.

LPA chief executive, Calum Grains, said: “The continuing upward movement in servicing offshore activity in the northern North Sea and Atlantic is encouraging and we remain cautiously optimistic for the future.”

Among general activities, vessel arrivals and tonnage remained steady, at 3,936 vessels and 10,212,403 gross tonnes respectively.

Cargo increased nine per cent to 679,744 tonnes, including a four per cent rise in freight on NorthLink’s ro-ro service.

Ferry passenger numbers increased by around 10 per cent to 122,061. Total passengers during the March to October cruise season were recorded at 197,636, a one per cent decrease on the previous year and less than anticipated.

Captain Grains said: “The footfall highlights ferries as an alternative to flying to the mainland and the importance of meeting users’ expectations. Cruise bookings for next year should mean a record season.”

There were 182,554 boxes of whitefish landed between January and September, a decrease of eight per cent. An average price of £2,021.00 per tonne represents a four per cent increase compared to the same period in 2018.


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