Lerwick Harbour Gains Another Major Pier

by Alastair Hamilton -

Lerwick’s port authority, which traces its roots back to 1877, has always been keen to invest in improved facilities for the harbour’s users. The latest project, the £16.5m Mair’s Pier, was officially opened in July by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott.

He said: “Lerwick Port Authority has, through the decades, invested in Shetland's future. New quays, facilities and deeper, sheltered water reflect the needs of larger vessels, the ever-changing oil and gas industry and the importance of seafood to Shetland and the wider Scottish and UK economy.

“Mair's Pier is testament to the Lerwick Port Authority board and the team who make the Authority the successful, growing business it is. It is a strategic investment in Lerwick, and so much more. The Authority recognises the maritime world never stands still and ports must adapt and invest in their facilities to compete.

the maritime world never stands still

In fact, the new pier is the largest single capital investment in the 140-year history of Lerwick Harbour Trust and its successor since 1999, Lerwick Port Authority. The new structure is already being used by the fishing industry - white fish and pelagic - and the offshore and cruise sectors.

Mr Scott continued: “Shetland is geographically fortunate - in the right place at the right time when North Sea oil was discovered – and the industry is being served by the new pier. Today, fishing is the islands’ most important industry. A new fish market providing state-of-the art facilities will complement the new pier. Cruise liners discharging thousands of people to visit what the islands have to offer now have additional berthing.

Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said “Mair’s Pier is a significant addition to our infrastructure and has been well received across several sectors where it will help sustain and grow activity. It is also very much a value-added asset as a catalyst for considerable further development, including a new fish market and fishing industry hub.”

it will help sustain and grow activity

Mair’s Pier is among Lerwick harbour developments backed by Bank of Scotland, whose Mid Markets relationship manager, Carolyn Martin, said: “The expansion to Lerwick Harbour will provide a significant boost to the Shetland economy. Bank of Scotland has a long-standing relationship with Lerwick Port Authority and is pleased to be supporting such an important series of projects. The development of the port is part of the Authority’s long-term strategy to reinforce Lerwick’s future, and supports future jobs and growth.”

The project involved land reclamation, construction of an 804-metre deep-water L-shaped quay, and demolition of a smaller jetty. A working area covering over 1.5 hectares for the fishing fleet and oil vessels has been created. The outer arm creates a dock which will shelter the new market, with construction planned to start this year.

The main consultant was Arch Henderson LLP, who have an office in Lerwick; they provided full design, project management and cost control. The main contractor was Shetland-based civil and marine firm, Tulloch Developments Limited. Ms Laurenson acknowledged the role of the main contractors and local subcontractors and suppliers in completing the project on budget.

As Mr Scott observed, “Mair's Pier is the latest major investment by a highly professional and go-ahead port. It will not be the last, and that approach to Shetland's future is why Lerwick will remain a top UK port.”