Oil and gas traffic increases at Lerwick Harbour

by Tom Morton -

The oil and gas industry has continued to take full advantage of Lerwick Harbour’s expanded deep-water infrastructure which helped attract increased traffic in 2013.

The number of oil-related vessels calling jumped 9.6% to 683, compared to 2012, with the tonnage up 28% to 3.8 million gross tonnes and the cargo handled by 36% to 189,090 tonnes.

There was a total of 5416 vessel arrivals last year, up 4.9%, with the tonnage of all ships ahead by 5.5% to 13.2 million gross tonnes.

Use of the port by larger vessels is again demonstrated by pilotage movements, up 7.6% to 1502, with 10.2 million gross tonnes of vessels piloted, up 5.3%.

Total cargo across the port’s near-4,000 metres of quays rose by 17% to 1,169,108 tonnes.

Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority’s Chief Executive, said: “In a very busy year, our investment in enhanced facilities again paid off. On top of regular traffic, the port handled various projects demonstrating the capacity of the deep-water harbour, including storing and transhipping modules weighing up to 450 tonnes for the Shetland Gas Plant and accommodating several floatels housing construction workers.

“The outlook is positive for the foreseeable future and we are progressing further developments to maximise the opportunities in various sectors.”

Fish landings totalled 66,745 tonnes, valued at £62.5 million, up 8.6% on volume and 23% on value.

The 10,940 tonnes of white fish were valued at £17 million, up 14% on volume and 9.3% on value, with the price per tonne down 4% to average £1,553 per tonne. In the pelagic sector, mackerel landings increased and there were no blue whiting and less herring landed.

Passengers on ferries between Lerwick and Orkney and Aberdeen increased 7% to 133,028 in 2013. As previously reported, cruise passenger numbers decreased - by 29% to 26,684 – resulting in a minor reduction of 0.85% in total passenger numbers to 160,445.

Ms Laurenson said:

“The cruise season was affected by one-off factors relating to specific operators. Bookings for this year indicate a strong recovery, with around 46,000 passengers expected.”