A busy nine months at Lerwick Harbour
by Tom Morton -
Increases in vessel arrivals and tonnage, as well as cargo, ferry passengers and fish landings
Activity in the oil and gas industry – both offshore and onshore – continues to be a driving force at Lerwick Harbour, with the latest traffic figures for the sector showing increases in the number and tonnage of vessels and in cargo handled this year.In the first nine months of 2013, 534 offshore industry-related vessels used the deep-water port, an increase of 10%, with the tonnage up 42% at 3.1 million gross tonnes, compared to the same period in 2012. Cargo rose 28.5% to 137,958 tonnes.
Delivery of modules for the Shetland Gas Plant, under construction near the Sullom Voe oil terminal, contributed to the sector’s activity at Lerwick.The total for all cargoes crossing the port’s near 4,000 metres of quays increased 15% to 856,800 tonnes. Vessel arrivals totalled 4,179, up 3%, with the tonnage of shipping ahead by 7.8% at 10.5 million gross tonnes.
The port’s capacity to handle large vessels is again reflected in the number of pilotage movements – at 1,168, up 12%, with the tonnage of vessels piloted rising 10% at 8.5 million gross tonnes.There was a 6% increase to 107,069 in ferry passengers using the roll-on/roll-off service between Lerwick and Orkney and Aberdeen. Due to various factors affecting specific operators in the 2013 season, there was a forecast drop in cruise passengers – down 30% at 26,477. The total passenger figure, at 134,283, was reduced by 3%.
Between January and September, 44,512 tonnes of fish, worth £39.4 million, were landed, up 6% on volume and 17% on value. The 8,263 tonnes of white fish were valued at £12.6 million, an increase of 13% on volume and 4% on value, with the average price per tonne decreased by 8% to £1,533 per tonne. With less herring and more mackerel landed, the pelagic total was up 5% on volume and 26% on value, due to the higher proportion of mackerel.
Sandra Laurenson, Chief Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, commented: “2013 continues as a busy year, with growth across almost all sectors. The high level of activity by port users is backed by our ongoing development programme, with another deep-water quay due for completion in November.
“The recent grant of £515,315 from the European Regional Development Fund will help facilitate a £1.28 million project to create three new lay down areas, extending to 45,000 square metres and required to meet industry demand.”