Encouraging figures from port authority as Covid fightback continues

Lerwick Harbour has seen signs of recovery in the last quarter, despite ongoing challenges.

Chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority, Calum Grains, says the latest figures give ongoing cause for hope.

“The continuing trend in the third quarter gives us encouragement that we are on the road to recovery from the impact of Covid, albeit on a long haul back to normal,” he said.

“With a range of offshore industry operations supported at the deep-water Shetland port, there was a 25 per cent increase in oil-related vessel arrivals and a 21 per cent rise in tonnage at 867,362 gross tonnes.”

However, a 10 per cent fall in fishing vessels and fewer live fish carrier movements contributed to a five per cent fall in overall arrivals – to 3,158.

But tonnage of vessels increased by nine per cent to 6,690,019 gross tonnes – largely attributable to cruise ship arrivals.

Total cargo rose 16 per cent. That includes a 13 per cent hike in shipments on the roll-on/roll-off ferry service from Aberdeen, partly due to delivery of materials for Viking Energy.

Passenger numbers jumped 91 per cent to 85,727, with footfall on ro/ro ferries increased by 77 per cent at 77,085 due to lifting of Covid restrictions on domestic travel.

The reopening of ports to cruise ships on domestic voyages in July brought 8,642 passengers to Lerwick.

Fish landings were impacted by reduced demand in the hospitality sector, compounded by Brexit and quota challenges. The market handled a total of 148,272 boxes – down three per cent.

Captain Grains said: “Quota availability means the outlook for the fishing sector remains challenging as demand increases.

“The successful reopening of the port to cruise ships in the third quarter and strong UK and international bookings for 2022 – again with new operators and a high number of maiden calls – could potentially mean a record season and good news for Shetland.”


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